List of birds of Syria
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Syria. The avifauna of Syria include a total of 391 species, of which 11 are rare or accidental. One species listed is extirpated in Syria and is not included in the species count.
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. Accidental species are included in the total species count for Syria.
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 Syria
- (Ex) Extirpated - a species that no longer occurs in Syria 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 3 species which occur in Syria.
- Little grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis
- 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. There are 75 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Syria.
Boobies and gannets
- Northern gannet, Morus bassanus
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.
- Great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
- European shag, Phalacrocorax aristotelis
- Pygmy cormorant, Microcarbo pygmeus
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
- Little egret, Egretta garzetta
- Squacco heron, Ardeola ralloides
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
- Great bittern, Botaurus stellaris (A)
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.
- 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 odd-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 Syria.
- 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.
- Greater white-fronted goose, Anser albifrons
- Lesser white-fronted goose, Anser erythropus (A)
- Greylag goose, Anser anser
- Egyptian goose, Alopochen aegyptiacus
- 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
- Common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Red-breasted merganser, Mergus serrator
- 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
- Red kite, Milvus milvus
- Black kite, Milvus migrans
- White-tailed eagle, Haliaeetus albicilla
- Lammergeier, Gypaetus barbatus
- Egyptian vulture, Neophron percnopterus
- Eurasian griffon, Gyps fulvus
- Cinereous vulture, Aegypius monachus
- Lappet-faced vulture, Torgos tracheliotos (A)
- Short-toed snake eagle, Circaetus gallicus
- Western marsh-harrier, Circus aeruginosus
- Northern harrier, Circus cyaneus
- Pallid harrier, Circus macrourus
- Montagu's harrier, Circus pygargus
- Levant sparrowhawk, Accipiter brevipes
- Eurasian sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
- Northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
- Eurasian buzzard, Buteo buteo
- Long-legged buzzard, Buteo rufinus
- Rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus (A)
- Lesser spotted eagle, Clanga pomarina
- Greater spotted eagle, Clanga clanga
- Tawny eagle, Aquila rapax
- Steppe eagle, Aquila nipalensis
- Imperial eagle, Aquila heliaca
- Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
- 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.
- Lesser kestrel, Falco naumanni
- Eurasian kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
- Red-footed falcon, Falco vespertinus
- Eleonora's falcon, Falco eleonorae
- Sooty falcon, Falco concolor (A)
- 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. There are 156 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Syria.
- Chukar, Alectoris chukar
- See-see partridge, Ammoperdix griseogularis (A)
- Sand partridge, Ammoperdix heyi (A)
- Black francolin, Francolinus francolinus
- Common quail, Coturnix coturnix
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". There are 15 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Syria.
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
- 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.
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 (A)
- 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 Syria.
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 Syria.
- 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 17 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Syria.
- 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 14 species which occur in Syria.
- Northern lapwing, Vanellus vanellus
- Spur-winged plover, Vanellus spinosus
- Red-wattled lapwing, Vanellus indicus
- Sociable lapwing, Vanellus gregarius
- White-tailed lapwing, Vanellus leucurus
- 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 25 species which have been recorded in Syria.
- Eurasian woodcock, Scolopax rusticola
- Jack snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus
- Great snipe, Gallinago media
- Common snipe, Gallinago gallinago
- Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa
- Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica (A)
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Slender-billed curlew, Numenius tenuirostris
- 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
- 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 1 species which occurs in Syria.
- Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus
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.
- Audouin's gull, Ichthyaetus audouinii
- Pallas's gull, Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus
- Black-headed gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
- Slender-billed gull, Chroicocephalus genei
- Mediterranean gull, Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
- Little gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus
- Common gull, Larus canus
- Great black-backed gull, Larus marinus
- Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
- Heuglin's gull, Larus heuglini
- Caspian gull, Larus cachinnans
- Yellow-legged gull, Larus michahellis
- Armenian gull, Larus armenicus
- Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
- Sandwich tern, Thalasseus sandvicensis
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- Little tern, Sternula albifrons
- Whiskered tern, Chlidonias hybrida
- White-winged tern, Chlidonias leucopterus
- Black tern, Chlidonias niger
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 3 species which occur in Syria.
- Pin-tailed sandgrouse, Pterocles alchata
- Spotted sandgrouse, Pterocles senegallus
- Black-bellied sandgrouse, Pterocles orientalis
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia
- Stock dove, Columba oenas
- Common wood pigeon, Columba palumbus
- European turtle dove, Streptopelia turtur
- Eurasian collared dove, Streptopelia decaocto
- Laughing dove, Spilopelia senegalensis
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 Syria.
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 Syria.
- 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.
- Pallid scops owl, Otus brucei
- European scops owl, Otus scops
- Eurasian eagle-owl, Bubo bubo
- Pharaoh eagle-owl, Bubo ascalaphus
- Brown fish owl, Ketupa zeylonensis
- Tawny owl, Strix aluco
- Desert owl, Strix hadorami
- Little owl, Athene noctua
- Boreal owl, Aegolius funereus
- 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 3 species which occur in Syria.
- Eurasian nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus
- Egyptian nightjar, Caprimulgus aegyptius
- Nubian nightjar, Caprimulgus nubicus
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 4 species which occur in Syria.
- 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 3 species which occur in Syria.
- Common kingfisher, Alcedo atthis
- White-throated kingfisher, Halcyon smyrnensis
- 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 2 species which occur in Syria.
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 2 species which occur in Syria.
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 Syria.
- 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
- Middle spotted woodpecker, Dendrocoptes medius
- Syrian woodpecker, Dendrocopos syriacus
- Sind woodpecker, Dendrocopos assimilis
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.
- Bar-tailed lark, Ammomanes cincturus
- Desert lark, Ammomanes deserti
- Greater hoopoe-lark, Alaemon alaudipes
- Thick-billed lark, Ramphocoris clotbey
- Calandra lark, Melanocorypha calandra
- Bimaculated lark, Melanocorypha bimaculata
- Greater short-toed lark, Calandrella brachydactyla
- Lesser short-toed lark, Alaudala rufescens
- Dunn's lark, Eremalauda dunni
- Crested lark, Galerida cristata
- Wood lark, Lullula arborea
- Eurasian skylark, Alauda arvensis
- Horned lark, Eremophila alpestris
- 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. There are 75 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Syria.
- Sand martin, Riparia riparia
- Eurasian crag martin, Ptyonoprogne rupestris
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
- Red-rumped swallow, Cecropis daurica
- 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 10 species which occur in Syria.
- White wagtail, Motacilla alba
- Citrine wagtail, Motacilla citreola
- Yellow wagtail, Motacilla flava
- Grey wagtail, Motacilla cinerea
- Tawny pipit, Anthus campestris
- Long-billed pipit, Anthus similis
- Tree pipit, Anthus trivialis
- 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 3 species which occur in Syria.
- White-spectacled bulbul, Pycnonotus xanthopygos
- White-eared bulbul, Pycnonotus leucotis
- White-cheeked bulbul, Pycnonotus leucogenys
The kinglets, also called crests, are a small group of birds often included in the Old World warblers, but frequently given family status because they also resemble the titmice. There are 7 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Syria.
- Goldcrest, Regulus regulus
Dippers are a group of perching birds whose habitat includes aquatic environments in the Americas, Europe and Asia. They are named for their bobbing or dipping movements. There are 5 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Syria.
- White-throated dipper, Cinclus cinclus
The wrens are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud songs. These birds have short wings and thin down-turned bills. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous.
- Eurasian wren, Troglodytes troglodytes
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 3 species which occur in Syria.
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.
- Ring ouzel, Turdus torquatus
- Eurasian blackbird, Turdus merula
- 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
- Cetti's warbler, Cettia cetti
- Common grasshopper warbler, Locustella naevia (A)
- Eurasian river warbler, Locustella fluviatilis
- Savi's warbler, Locustella luscinioides
- Moustached warbler, Acrocephalus melanopogon
- Sedge warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
- Paddyfield warbler, Acrocephalus agricola
- Eurasian reed warbler, Acrocephalus scirpaceus
- Blyth's reed warbler, Acrocephalus dumetorum
- Marsh warbler, Acrocephalus palustris
- Great reed warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus
- Clamorous reed warbler, Acrocephalus stentoreus
- Basra reed warbler, Acrocephalus griseldis
- Eastern olivaceous warbler, Iduna pallida
- Upcher's warbler, Hippolais languida
- Olive-tree warbler, Hippolais olivetorum
- Icterine warbler, Hippolais icterina
- Willow warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus
- Common chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita
- Western Bonelli's warbler, Phylloscopus bonelli
- Eastern Bonelli's warbler, Phylloscopus orientalis
- Wood warbler, Phylloscopus sibilatrix
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
- Barred warbler, Sylvia nisoria
- Western Orphean warbler, Sylvia hortensis
- Eastern Orphean warbler, Sylvia crassirostris
- Rüppell's warbler, Sylvia ruppeli
- Subalpine warbler, Sylvia cantillans
- Sardinian warbler, Sylvia melanocephala
- Menetries's warbler, Sylvia mystacea
- Spectacled warbler, Sylvia conspicillata
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 pied flycatcher, Ficedula hypoleuca
- Collared flycatcher, Ficedula albicollis
- Semicollared flycatcher, Ficedula semitorquata
- European robin, Erithacus rubecula
- Thrush nightingale, Luscinia luscinia
- Common nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos
- Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica
- Red-flanked bluetail, Tarsiger cyanurus
- White-throated robin, Irania gutturalis
- Rufous-tailed scrub robin, Cercotrichas galactotes
- Black redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros
- Common redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus
- Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
- European stonechat, Saxicola rubicola
- Siberian stonechat, Saxicola maurus
- 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 (A)
- Desert wheatear, Oenanthe deserti
- Isabelline wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina
- Blackstart, Cercomela melanura
- Iraq babbler, Turdoides altirostris
- Bearded reedling, Panurus biarmicus
Long-tailed tits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet which includes insects. There are 9 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Syria.
- Long-tailed tit, Aegithalos caudatus
Chickadees and titmice
The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are 59 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Syria.
- Sombre tit, Poecile lugubris
- Coal tit, Periparus ater
- Great tit, Parus major
- Eurasian blue tit, Cyanistes caeruleus
Nuthatches are small woodland birds. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. Nuthatches have big heads, short tails and powerful bills and feet. There are 24 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Syria.
The wallcreeper is a small bird related to the nuthatch family, which has stunning crimson, grey and black plumage.
- Wallcreeper, Tichodroma muraria
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 Syria.
- 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 1 species which occurs in Syria.
- Palestine sunbird, Cinnyris oseus
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 Syria.
- 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. There are 31 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Syria.
- Red-backed shrike, Lanius collurio
- Southern grey shrike, Lanius meridionalis
- Steppe grey shrike, Lanius pallidirostris
- Lesser grey shrike, Lanius minor
- 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 11 species which occur in Syria.
- Eurasian jay, Garrulus glandarius
- Eurasian magpie, Pica pica
- Red-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
- Yellow-billed chough, Pyrrhocorax graculus
- Eurasian jackdaw, Corvus monedula
- Rook, Corvus frugilegus
- Carrion crow, Corvus corone
- Brown-necked raven, Corvus ruficollis
- Fan-tailed raven, Corvus rhipidurus
- Common raven, Corvus corax
- Hooded crow, Corvus cornix
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 2 species which occur in Syria.
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. There are 275 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in Syria.
- Yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella
- Pine bunting, Emberiza leucocephalos
- Rock bunting, Emberiza cia
- Cinereous bunting, Emberiza cineracea
- Ortolan bunting, Emberiza hortulana
- Cretzschmar's bunting, Emberiza caesia
- Rustic bunting, Emberiza rustica
- Black-headed bunting, Emberiza melanocephala
- 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
- Common rosefinch, Carpodacus erythrinus
- Red crossbill, Loxia curvirostra
- European greenfinch, Chloris chloris
- Eurasian siskin, Spinus spinus
- European goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis
- Twite, Linaria flavirostris
- Eurasian linnet, Linaria cannabina
- Fire-fronted serin, Serinus pusillus
- European serin, Serinus serinus
- Syrian serin, Serinus syriacus
- Hawfinch, Coccothraustes coccothraustes
- Crimson-winged finch, Rhodopechys sanguinea
- 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 Syria.
- House sparrow, Passer domesticus
- Spanish sparrow, Passer hispaniolensis
- Dead Sea sparrow, Passer moabiticus
- Eurasian tree sparrow, Passer montanus
- Chestnut-shouldered petronia, Petronia xanthocollis
- Rock petronia, Petronia petronia
- Pale rockfinch, Carpospiza brachydactyla