List of birds of Qatar
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Qatar. The avifauna of Qatar include a total of 211 species, of which five have been introduced by humans and eleven are rare or accidental. Two species are globally threatened.
This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Qatar.
The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. The commonly occurring native species do not fall into any of these categories.
- (A) Accidental – a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Qatar
- (I) Introduced – a species introduced to Qatar as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions
- (Ex Extirpated – a species that no longer occurs in Qatar although populations exist elsewhere
- (X) Extinct – a species or subspecies that no longer exists
The ostrich is a flightless bird native to Africa. It is the largest living species of bird. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at high speeds.
Grebes are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Qatar.
Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings.
- Red-billed tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus
Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colourful.
Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes.
- Great white pelican, Pelecanus onocrotalus
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills.
- Grey heron, Ardea cinerea
- Purple heron, Ardea purpurea
- Great egret, Ardea alba
- Western reef heron, Egretta gularis
- Little egret, Egretta garzetta
- Squacco heron, Ardeola ralloides
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
- Great bittern, Botaurus stellaris
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute, but bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory.
- White stork, Ciconia ciconia
Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) tall, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume and, uniquely, are used upside-down. There are 6 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Qatar.
- Greater flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus
Ducks, geese and swans
Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating.
- Eurasian wigeon, Mareca penelope
- Eurasian teal, Anas crecca
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Garganey, Spatula querquedula
- Northern shoveler, Spatula clypeata
- Ferruginous pochard, Aythya nyroca (A)
The family Pandionidae contains only one species, the osprey. The osprey is a medium-large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.
- Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
Hawks, kites and eagles
Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight.
- Black kite, Milvus migrans
- Egyptian vulture, Neophron percnopterus
- Western marsh-harrier, Circus aeruginosus
- Hen harrier, Circus cyaneus
- Pallid harrier, Circus macrourus
- Eurasian sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
- Eurasian buzzard, Buteo buteo
Caracaras and falcons
Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. There are 62 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in Qatar.
- Lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni
- Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
- Sooty falcon, Falco concolor
- Eurasian hobby, Falco subbuteo
- Lanner falcon, Falco biarmicus
- Saker falcon, Falco cherrug
- Barbary falcon, Falco pelegrinoides
- Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus
Pheasants and partridges
The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Qatar.
Rails, crakes, gallinules and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers.
- Water rail, Rallus aquaticus
- Baillon's crake, Porzana pusilla
- Spotted crake, Porzana porzana
- Common moorhen, Gallinula chloropus
- Eurasian coot, Fulica atra
Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays.
- Eurasian oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus
Avocets and stilts
Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Qatar.
The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow-black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats. There are 9 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Qatar.
- Eurasian thick-knee, Burhinus oedicnemus
Pratincoles and coursers
Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long, pointed bills which curve downwards. There are 3 species which occur in Qatar.
- Cream-colored courser, Cursorius cursor
- Collared pratincole, Glareola pratincola
- Black-winged pratincole, Glareola nordmanni
Plovers and lapwings
The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. There are 66 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in Qatar.
- Northern lapwing, Vanellus vanellus
- White-tailed lapwing, Vanellus leucurus
- Pacific golden-plover, Pluvialis fulva
- Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- Common ringed plover, Charadrius hiaticula
- Little ringed plover, Charadrius dubius
- Snowy plover, Charadrius alexandrinus
- Lesser sandplover, Charadrius mongolus
- Greater sandplover, Charadrius leschenaultii
- Caspian plover, Charadrius asiaticus
Sandpipers and allies
Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 24 species which have been recorded in Qatar.
- Eurasian woodcock, Scolopax rusticola
- Jack snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus
- Common snipe, Gallinago gallinago
- Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa
- Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Eurasian curlew, Numenius arquata
- Spotted redshank, Tringa erythropus
- Common redshank, Tringa totanus
- Marsh sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis
- Common greenshank, Tringa nebularia
- Green sandpiper, Tringa ochropus
- Wood sandpiper, Tringa glareola
- Terek sandpiper, Xenus cinereus
- Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Little stint, Calidris minuta
- Temminck's stint, Calidris temminckii
- Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Broad-billed sandpiper, Calidris falcinellus
- Ruff, Calidris pugnax
- Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
Skuas and jaegers
The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Qatar.
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns and kittiwakes. Gulls are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years.
- Sooty gull, Ichthyaetus hemprichii
- Pallas's gull, Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
- Slender-billed gull, Chroicocephalus genei
- Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
- Caspian gull, Larus cachinnans
- Armenian gull, Larus armenicus
- Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
- Lesser crested tern, Thalasseus bengalensis
- Sandwich tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis
- Great crested tern, Thalasseus bergii
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- White-cheeked tern, Sterna repressa
- Little tern, Sternula albifrons
- Saunders's tern, Sternula saundersi
- Bridled tern, Onychoprion anaethetus
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia
- European turtle dove, Streptopelia turtur
- Eurasian collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto
- Laughing dove, Spilopelia senegalensis
- Namaqua dove, Oena capensis (A)
Old World parrots
- Rose-ringed parakeet, Psittacula krameri (I)
Cuckoos and anis
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. The Old World cuckoos are brood parasites. There are 138 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Qatar.
Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Qatar.
- Barn owl, Tyto alba
The typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk.
- Eurasian scops-owl, Otus scops
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
- Little owl or Lilith owlet, Athene noctua
Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs and very short bills. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves. There are 86 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Qatar.
- Eurasian nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus
Swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang. There are 98 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Qatar.
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Qatar.
The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colourful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Qatar.
Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Qatar.
- European roller, Coracias garrulus
Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Qatar.
- Hoopoe, Upupa epops
Woodpeckers and allies
Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks.
- Eurasian wryneck, Jynx torquilla
Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are 91 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Qatar.
- Black-crowned sparrow-lark, Eremopterix nigriceps
- Bar-tailed lark, Ammomanes cincturus
- Desert lark, Ammomanes deserti
- Greater hoopoe-lark, Alaemon alaudipes
- Dunn's lark, Eremalauda dunni (A)
- Crested lark, Galerida cristata
- Eurasian skylark, Alauda arvensis
Swallows and martins
The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Qatar.
- Sand martin, Riparia riparia
- Pale crag martin, Ptyonoprogne obsoleta
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
- Common house martin, Delichon urbicum
Wagtails and pipits
Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 54 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in Qatar.
- White wagtail, Motacilla alba
- Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava
- Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea
- Richard's pipit, Anthus richardi (A)
- Tawny pipit, Anthus campestris
- Long-billed pipit, Anthus similis (A)
- Tree pipit, Anthus trivialis
- Meadow pipit, Anthus pratensis
- Red-throated pipit, Anthus cervinus
Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throats or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests. There are 130 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Qatar.
- White-eared bulbul, Pycnonotus leucotis
- White-cheeked bulbul, Pycnonotus leucogenys (I)
- Red-vented bulbul, Pycnonotus cafer (I)
The grey hypocolius is a small Middle Eastern bird with the shape and soft plumage of a waxwing. They are mainly a uniform grey colour except the males have a black triangular mask around their eyes.
- Hypocolius, Hypocolius ampelinus
Thrushes and allies
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs.
Cisticolas and allies
The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub. There are 111 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Qatar.
- Graceful prinia, Prinia gracilis (A)
- Sedge warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
- Eurasian reed warbler, Acrocephalus scirpaceus
- Marsh warbler, Acrocephalus palustris
- Great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus
- Eastern olivaceous warbler, Iduna pallida
- Upcher's warbler, Hippolais languida (A)
Old World warblers
The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. They mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.
- Eurasian blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla
- Garden warbler, Sylvia borin
- Greater whitethroat, Sylvia communis
- Lesser whitethroat, Sylvia curruca
- African desert warbler, Sylvia deserti
- Barred warbler, Sylvia nisoria
- Menetries's warbler, Sylvia mystacea
Old World flycatchers
Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is highly varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls.
- Common rock thrush, Monticola saxatilis
- Blue rock thrush, Monticola solitarius
- Spotted flycatcher, Muscicapa striata
- European robin, Erithacus rubecula
- Common nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos
- Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica
- Rufous-tailed scrub-robin, Cercotrichas galactotes
- Black redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros
- Common redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus
- Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
- Siberian stonechat, Saxicola maurus
- White-tailed wheatear, Oenanthe leucopyga
- Northern wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe
- Mourning wheatear, Oenanthe lugens
- Finsch's wheatear, Oenanthe finschii
- Pied wheatear, Oenanthe pleschanka
- Black-eared wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica
- Red-tailed wheatear, Oenanthe xanthoprymna
- Desert wheatear, Oenanthe deserti
- Isabelline wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina
Old World orioles
The Old World orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are 29 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Qatar.
- Eurasian golden oriole, Oriolus oriolus
Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey.
- Red-backed shrike, Lanius collurio
- Isabelline shrike, Lanius isabellinus
- Red-tailed shrike, Lanius phoenicuroides
- Masked shrike, Lanius nubicus
- Woodchat shrike, Lanius senator
Crows, jays, ravens and magpies
The family Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence. There are 120 species worldwide and 0 species which occurs in Qatar.
- House crow, Corvus splendens (I)
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are 125 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Qatar.
- Common myna, Acridotheres tristis (I)
Waxbills and allies
The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have wide variation in plumage colours and patterns. There are 141 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Qatar.
Buntings, sparrows, seedeaters and allies
The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with distinctively shaped bills. In Europe, most species are called buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns.
- Cinereous bunting, Emberiza cineracea
- Ortolan bunting, Emberiza hortulana
- Striolated bunting, Emberiza striolata
Siskins, crossbills and allies
Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well.
Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects. There are 35 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Qatar.
- House sparrow, Passer domesticus
- Spanish sparrow, Passer hispaniolensis
- Pale rockfinch, Carpospiza brachydactyla (A)