List of birds of Saudi Arabia
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Saudi Arabia. The avifauna of Saudi Arabia include a total of 488 species, of which five have been introduced by humans and fifteen are rare or accidental. One species is extirpated in Saudi Arabia and is not included in the species count. Fifteen 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 Saudi Arabia.
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 Saudi Arabia
- (I) Introduced – a species introduced to Saudi Arabia as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions
- (Ex) Extirpated – a species that no longer occurs in Saudi Arabia 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 4 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis
- Red-necked grebe, Podiceps grisegena
- Great crested grebe, Podiceps cristatus
- Eared grebe, Podiceps nigricollis
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary.
- Jouanin's petrel, Bulweria fallax
- Flesh-footed shearwater, Ardenna carneipes
- Persian shearwater, Puffinus persicus
The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There are 21 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
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
Boobies and gannets
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.
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
- Goliath heron, Ardea goliath
- Purple heron, Ardea purpurea
- Great egret, Ardea alba
- Western reef heron, Egretta gularis
- Little egret, Egretta garzetta
- Squacco heron, Ardeola ralloides
- Indian pond heron, Ardeola grayii (A)
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Striated heron, Butorides striata
- Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
- Great bittern, Botaurus stellaris
- Little bittern, Ixobrychus minutus
The hammerkop is a medium-sized bird with a long shaggy crest. The shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. Its plumage is drab-brown all over.
- Hamerkop, Scopus umbretta
Ibises and spoonbills
Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers.
- Sacred ibis, Threskiornis aethiopicus
- Waldrapp, Geronticus eremita
- Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus
- Eurasian spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia
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.
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 Saudi Arabia.
- Greater flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus
Ducks, geese and swans
The family 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.
- Mute swan, Cygnus olor (A)
- Tundra swan, Cygnus columbianus
- Greater white-fronted goose, Anser albifrons
- Greylag goose, Anser anser
- Ruddy shelduck, Tadorna ferruginea
- Common shelduck, Tadorna tadorna
- Eurasian wigeon, Anas penelope
- Gadwall, Anas strepera
- Eurasian teal, Anas crecca
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Garganey, Anas querquedula
- Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Marbled teal, Marmaronetta angustirostris
- Red-crested pochard, Netta rufina
- Common pochard, Aythya ferina
- Ferruginous pochard, Aythya nyroca
- Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula
- Smew, Mergellus albellus
- White-headed duck, Oxyura leucocephala
The Pandionidae family 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.
- European honey buzzard, Pernis apivorus
- Black-shouldered kite, Elanus caeruleus
- Black kite, Milvus migrans
- Pallas's fish eagle, Haliaeetus leucoryphus
- White-tailed eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla
- Lammergeier, Gypaetus barbatus
- Egyptian vulture, Neophron percnopterus
- Rüppell's vulture, Gyps rueppelli
- Eurasian griffon, Gyps fulvus
- Cinereous vulture, Aegypius monachus
- Lappet-faced vulture, Torgos tracheliotos
- Short-toed snake eagle, Circaetus gallicus
- Bateleur, Terathopius ecaudatus
- Western marsh harrier, Circus aeruginosus
- Northern harrier, Circus cyaneus
- Pallid harrier, Circus macrourus
- Montagu's harrier, Circus pygargus
- Dark chanting goshawk, Melierax metabates
- Gabar goshawk, Micronisus gabar
- Shikra, Accipiter badius
- Levant sparrowhawk, Accipiter brevipes
- Eurasian sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
- Northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
- Eurasian buzzard, Buteo buteo
- Long-legged buzzard, Buteo rufinus
- Greater spotted eagle, Clanga clanga
- Tawny eagle, Aquila rapax
- Steppe eagle, Aquila nipalensis
- Imperial eagle, Aquila heliaca
- Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
- Verreaux's eagle, Aquila verreauxii
- Bonelli's eagle, Aquila fasciata
- Booted eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus
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 12 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni
- Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
- Red-footed falcon, Falco vespertinus
- Amur falcon, Falco amurensis
- Eleonora's falcon, Falco eleonorae
- Sooty falcon, Falco concolor
- Merlin, Falco columbarius
- 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.
- Chukar, Alectoris chukar
- Philby's partridge, Alectoris philbyi
- Arabian partridge, Alectoris melanocephala
- Sand partridge, Ammoperdix heyi
- Black francolin, Francolinus francolinus (A)
- Common quail, Coturnix coturnix
- Harlequin quail, Coturnix delegorguei (A)
Guineafowl are a group of African, seed-eating, ground-nesting birds which resemble partridges, but with featherless heads and spangled grey plumage.
- Helmeted guineafowl, Numida meleagris
Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances".
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
- Corn crake, Crex crex
- Little crake, Porzana parva
- Baillon's crake, Porzana pusilla
- Spotted crake, Porzana porzana
- Grey-headed swamphen, Porphyrio poliocephalus (A)
- 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.
- Great bustard, Otis tarda
- Arabian bustard, Ardeotis arabs
- Houbara bustard, Chlamydotis undulata
- Macqueen's bustard, Chlamydotis macqueenii
The buttonquails are small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails. The female is the brighter of the sexes and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young.
- Small buttonquail, Turnix sylvatica (A)
The crab-plover is related to the waders. It resembles a plover but with very long grey legs and a strong heavy black bill similar to a tern. It has black-and-white plumage, a long neck, partially webbed feet and a bill designed for eating crabs.
- Crab-plover, Dromas ardeola
- 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 Saudi Arabia.
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 2 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
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 17 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Cream-coloured 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 15 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Northern lapwing, Vanellus vanellus
- Spur-winged plover, Vanellus spinosus
- Red-wattled lapwing, Vanellus indicus
- Sociable lapwing, Vanellus gregarius
- White-tailed lapwing, Vanellus leucurus
- Pacific golden-plover, Pluvialis fulva
- European golden-plover, Pluvialis apricaria
- 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
- Eurasian dotterel, Charadrius morinellus
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 33 species which have been recorded in Saudi Arabia.
- Eurasian woodcock, Scolopax rusticola
- Jack snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus
- Solitary snipe, Gallinago solitaria (A)
- Pintail snipe, Gallinago stenura (A)
- Great snipe, Gallinago media
- 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
- Great knot, Calidris tenuirostris
- Red knot, Calidris canutus
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Little stint, Calidris minuta
- Temminck's stint, Calidris temminckii
- Long-toed stint, Calidris subminuta
- Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos
- Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Broad-billed sandpiper, Calidris falcinellus
- Buff-breasted sandpiper, Calidris subruficollis
- Ruff, Calidris pugnax
- Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
- Red phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius
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 Saudi Arabia.
Gulls, terns, and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns, and skimmers. 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.
- White-eyed gull, Ichthyaetus leucophthalmus
- Sooty gull, 'Ichthyaetus' hemprichii
- Pallas's gull, Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus
- Mediterranean gull, Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
- Brown-headed gull, Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus
- Grey-headed gull, Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus (A)
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
- Slender-billed gull, Chroicocephalus genei
- Little gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus
- Common gull, Larus canus
- Herring gull, Larus argentatus
- Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
- Heuglin's gull, Larus heuglini
- 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
- Roseate tern, Sterna dougallii
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- Arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea
- White-cheeked tern, Sterna repressa
- Little tern, Sternula albifrons
- Saunders's tern, Sternula saundersi
- Bridled tern, Onychoprion anaethetus
- Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscata
- Whiskered tern, Chlidonias hybrida
- White-winged tern, Chlidonias leucopterus
- Black tern, Chlidonias niger
- Brown noddy, Anous stolidus
Sandgrouse have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes. There are 16 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Pin-tailed sandgrouse, Pterocles alchata
- Chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, Pterocles exustus
- Spotted sandgrouse, Pterocles senegallus
- Black-bellied sandgrouse, Pterocles orientalis
- Crowned sandgrouse, Pterocles coronatus
- Lichtenstein's sandgrouse, Pterocles lichtensteinii
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia
- Stock dove, Columba oenas
- Common wood pigeon, Columba palumbus (A)
- Rameron pigeon, Columba arquatrix
- European turtle dove, Streptopelia turtur
- Dusky turtle dove, Streptopelia lugens
- Oriental turtle dove, Streptopelia orientalis
- Eurasian collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto
- African collared dove, Streptopelia roseogrisea
- Red-eyed dove, Streptopelia semitorquata
- Laughing dove, Spilopelia senegalensis
- Namaqua dove, Oena capensis
- Bruce's green pigeon, Treron waalia
Old World parrots
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. There are 138 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Pied cuckoo, Clamator jacobinus
- Great spotted cuckoo, Clamator glandarius
- Common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus
- Klaas's cuckoo, Chrysococcyx klaas
- White-browed coucal, Centropus superciliosus
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 Saudi Arabia.
- 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.
- Indian scops owl, Otus bakkamoena
- Pallid scops owl, Otus brucei
- Arabian scops owl, Otus pamelae
- European scops owl, Otus scops
- Eurasian eagle-owl, Bubo bubo
- Pharaoh eagle-owl, Bubo ascalaphus
- Spotted eagle-owl, Bubo africanus
- Desert owl, Strix hadorami
- Little owl, Athene noctua
- Long-eared owl, Asio otus
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Eurasian nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus
- Egyptian nightjar, Caprimulgus aegyptius
- Nubian nightjar, Caprimulgus nubicus
- Abyssinian nightjar, Caprimulgus poliocephalus
- Plain nightjar, Caprimulgus inornatus
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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- African palm-swift, Cypsiurus parvus
- Alpine swift, Tachymarptis melba
- Common swift, Apus apus
- Pallid swift, Apus pallidus
- Little swift, Apus affinis
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Common kingfisher, Alcedo atthis
- White-throated kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis
- Grey-headed kingfisher, Halcyon leucocephala
- Collared kingfisher, Todirhamphus chloris
- Pied kingfisher, Ceryle rudis
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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Somali bee-eater, Merops revoilii
- White-throated bee-eater, Merops albicollis
- Green bee-eater, Merops orientalis
- Blue-cheeked bee-eater, Merops persicus
- European bee-eater, Merops apiaster
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 3 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- European roller, Coracias garrulus
- Abyssinian roller, Coracias abyssinica
- Indian roller, Coracias benghalensis
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 Saudi Arabia.
- Hoopoe, Upupa epops
Hornbills are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow's horn, but without a twist, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. Frequently, the bill is brightly coloured. There are 57 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- African grey hornbill, Tockus nasutus
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.
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.
- Singing bushlark, Mirafra cantillans
- Black-crowned sparrow-lark, Eremopterix nigriceps
- Bar-tailed lark, Ammomanes cincturus
- Desert lark, Ammomanes deserti
- Greater hoopoe-lark, Alaemon alaudipes
- Thick-billed lark, Ramphocoris clotbey
- Bimaculated lark, Melanocorypha bimaculata
- Greater short-toed lark, Calandrella brachydactyla
- Blanford's lark, Calandrella blanfordi
- Lesser short-toed lark, Alaudala rufescens
- Dunn's lark, Eremalauda dunni
- Crested lark, Galerida cristata
- Wood lark, Lullula arborea
- Eurasian skylark, Alauda arvensis
- Oriental skylark, Alauda gulgula
- Temminck's lark, Eremophila bilopha
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.
- Sand martin, Riparia riparia
- Grey-throated martin, Riparia chinensis
- Eurasian crag martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris
- Pale crag martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
- Red-rumped swallow, Cecropis daurica
- Common house martin, Delichon urbica
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 13 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- White wagtail, Motacilla alba
- Citrine wagtail, Motacilla citreola
- Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava
- Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea
- Richard's pipit, Anthus richardi
- African pipit, Anthus cinnamomeus
- Tawny pipit, Anthus campestris
- Long-billed pipit, Anthus similis
- Tree pipit, Anthus trivialis
- Olive-backed pipit, Anthus hodgsoni (A)
- Meadow pipit, Anthus pratensis
- Red-throated pipit, Anthus cervinus
- Water pipit, Anthus spinoletta
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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Red-whiskered bulbul, Pycnonotus jocosus (I)
- White-spectacled bulbul, Pycnonotus xanthopygos
- White-eared bulbul, Pycnonotus leucotis
- White-cheeked bulbul, Pycnonotus leucogenys
- Red-vented bulbul, Pycnonotus cafer (I)
The grey hypocolius is a small Middle Eastern species. They are mainly a uniform grey colour except the males have a black triangular mask around their eyes.
- Hypocolius, Hypocolius ampelinus
The accentors are in the only bird family, Prunellidae, which is completely endemic to the Palearctic. They are small, fairly drab species superficially similar to sparrows. There are 13 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- Yemen accentor, Prunella fagani
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.
- Yemen thrush, Turdus menachensis
- Ring ouzel, Turdus torquatus
- Eurasian blackbird, Turdus merula
- Dark-throated thrush, Turdus ruficollis
- Dusky thrush, Turdus naumanni
- Fieldfare, Turdus pilaris
- Redwing, Turdus iliacus
- Song thrush, Turdus philomelos
- Mistle thrush, Turdus viscivorus
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.
Streaked scrub warbler
- Streaked scrub warbler, Scotocerca inquieta
- Common grasshopper warbler, Locustella naevia
- Eurasian river warbler, Locustella fluviatilis
- Savi's warbler, Locustella luscinioides
- Moustached warbler, Acrocephalus melanopogon
- Sedge warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
- Eurasian reed warbler, Acrocephalus scirpaceus
- African reed warbler, Acrocephalus baeticatus
- Marsh warbler, Acrocephalus palustris
- Great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus
- Clamorous reed warbler, Acrocephalus stentoreus
- Basra reed warbler, Acrocephalus griseldis
- Booted warbler, Iduna caligata (A)
- Sykes's warbler, Iduna rama
- Eastern olivaceous warbler, Iduna pallida
- Upcher's warbler, Hippolais languida
- Olive-tree warbler, Hippolais olivetorum
- Icterine warbler, Hippolais icterina
- Brown woodland warbler, Phylloscopus umbrovirens
- Willow warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus
- Common chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita
- Plain leaf warbler, Phylloscopus neglectus
- Western Bonelli's warbler, Phylloscopus bonelli
- Eastern Bonelli's warbler, Phylloscopus orientalis
- Wood warbler, Phylloscopus sibilatrix
- Dusky warbler, Phylloscopus fuscatus
- Yellow-browed warbler, Phylloscopus inornatus
- Arctic warbler, Phylloscopus borealis (A)
- Greenish warbler, Phylloscopus trochiloides
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.
- Yemen warbler, Sylvia buryi
- Eurasian blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla
- Garden warbler, Sylvia borin
- Greater whitethroat, Sylvia communis
- Lesser whitethroat, Sylvia curruca
- Small whitethroat, Sylvia minula
- African desert warbler, Sylvia deserti
- Barred warbler, Sylvia nisoria
- Eastern Orphean warbler, Sylvia crassirostris
- Arabian warbler, Sylvia leucomelaena
- Rüppell's warbler, Sylvia ruppeli
- Subalpine warbler, Sylvia cantillans
- Sardinian warbler, Sylvia melanocephala (A)
- Cyprus warbler, Sylvia melanothorax
- 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
- Little rock thrush, Monticola rufocinereus
- Blue rock thrush, Monticola solitarius
- Spotted flycatcher, Muscicapa striata
- Gambaga flycatcher, Muscicapa gambagae
- Collared flycatcher, Ficedula albicollis
- Semicollared flycatcher, Ficedula semitorquata
- Red-breasted flycatcher, Ficedula parva
- European robin, Erithacus rubecula
- Thrush nightingale, Luscinia luscinia
- Common nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos
- Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica
- White-throated robin, Irania gutturalis
- Rufous-tailed scrub-robin, Cercotrichas galactotes
- Black scrub-robin, Cercotrichas podobe
- Rufous-backed redstart, Phoenicurus erythronota
- Black redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros
- Common redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus
- White-winged redstart, Phoenicurus erythrogaster
- Siberian stonechat, Saxicola maurus
- Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
- European stonechat, Saxicola rubicola
- Pied bushchat, Saxicola caprata
- White-tailed wheatear, Oenanthe leucopyga
- Hooded wheatear, Oenanthe monacha
- Northern wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe
- Mourning wheatear, Oenanthe lugens
- Finsch's wheatear, Oenanthe finschii
- Red-rumped wheatear, Oenanthe moesta
- Pied wheatear, Oenanthe pleschanka
- Cyprus wheatear, Oenanthe cypriaca
- Black-eared wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica
- Red-tailed wheatear, Oenanthe xanthoprymna
- Desert wheatear, Oenanthe deserti
- Isabelline wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina
- Red-breasted wheatear, Oenanthe bottae
- Blackstart, Cercomela melanura
The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching. There are 99 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- African paradise-flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis
- Arabian babbler, Turdoides squamiceps
The penduline tits are a group of small passerine birds related to the true tits. They are insectivores. There are 13 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- Eurasian penduline-tit, Remiz pendulinus
Sunbirds and spiderhunters
The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are 131 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Nile Valley sunbird, Hedydipna metallica
- Palestine sunbird, Cinnyris oseus
- Shining sunbird, Cinnyris habessinicus
The white-eyes are small and mostly undistinguished, their plumage above being generally some dull colour like greenish-olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests, many species have a white ring around each eye. There are 96 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- White-breasted white-eye, Zosterops abyssinicus
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 Saudi Arabia.
- 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
- Brown shrike, Lanius cristatus
- Southern grey shrike, Lanius meridionalis
- Lesser grey shrike, Lanius minor
- Great grey shrike, Lanius excubitor
- Masked shrike, Lanius nubicus
- Woodchat shrike, Lanius senator
Bushshrikes and allies
Bushshrikes are similar in habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be either colourful species or largely black; some species are quite secretive. There are 46 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- Black-crowned tchagra, Tchagra senegala
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 8 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Eurasian magpie, Pica pica
- Red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
- Eurasian jackdaw, Corvus monedula (A)
- House crow, Corvus splendens
- Rook, Corvus frugilegus
- Carrion crow, Corvus corone
- Brown-necked raven, Corvus ruficollis
- Fan-tailed raven, Corvus rhipidurus
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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Common myna, Acridotheres tristis
- Rosy starling, Pastor roseus
- European starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Violet-backed starling, Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
- Tristram's starling, Onychognathus tristramii
Weavers and allies
The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season. There are 116 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- Rüppell's weaver, Ploceus galbula
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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Arabian waxbill, Estrilda rufibarba
- Red avadavat, Amandava amandava (I)
- Zebra waxbill, Sporaeginthus subflavus
- African silverbill, Euodice cantans
- White-throated munia, Euodice malabarica
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. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns.
- Pine bunting, Emberiza leucocephalos
- Cinereous bunting, Emberiza cineracea
- Ortolan bunting, Emberiza hortulana
- Cretzschmar's bunting, Emberiza caesia
- Striolated bunting, Emberiza striolata
- Cinnamon-breasted bunting, Emberiza tahapisi
- Little bunting, Emberiza pusilla
- Rustic bunting, Emberiza rustica
- Yellow-breasted bunting, Emberiza aureola
- Black-headed bunting, Emberiza melanocephala
- Red-headed bunting, Emberiza bruniceps
- Reed bunting, Emberiza schoeniclus
- Corn bunting, Emberiza calandra
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.
- Common chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs
- Brambling, Fringilla montifringilla
- Arabian golden-winged grosbeak, Rhynchostruthus percivali
- Common rosefinch, Carpodacus erythrinus
- Sinai rosefinch, Carpodacus synoicus
- European greenfinch, Chloris chloris
- Eurasian siskin, Spinus spinus
- European goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis
- Common linnet, Linaria cannabina
- Yemen linnet, Linaria yemenensis
- Arabian serin, Crithagra rothschildi
- Yemen serin, Crithagra menachensis
- Trumpeter finch, Bucanetes githaginea
- Desert finch, Rhodospiza obsoleta
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 7 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- House sparrow, Passer domesticus
- Spanish sparrow, Passer hispaniolensis
- Dead Sea sparrow, Passer moabiticus
- Arabian golden sparrow, Passer euchlorus
- Chestnut-shouldered petronia, Petronia xanthocollis
- Bush petronia, Petronia dentata
- Pale rockfinch, Carpospiza brachydactyla