Bird-watchers from all over the World have started organizing week-long trips to Jordan to enjoy the sight of some rare species of indigenous birds and others that migrate annually between the northern and southern hemispheres. Jordan's location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia means that birds from these three continents can sometimes be spotted in the same general area in Jordan.
Jordan 's remarkable variety of habitats - from rugged mountains and evergreen woodlands to scrubby steppe and hot deserts also makes for a dazzling variety of bird species. Jordan's Great Rift Valley is something of a high-traffic crossroads on the main migration routes for birds moving between Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Russia, and Africa. At certain times of the year, the skies over the Rift Valley are full of circling birds of prey.
Bird watching in Jordan is also enhanced by the genuine friendliness of the Jordanian people, and the opportunity to combine bird-watching with trips to some of the Middle East's most awesome ancient and natural wonders, such as Petra, Wadi Rum, or the Dead Sea.
What sort of birds can you see?
The Eastern Desert habitat is interrupted by the Azraq Wetland Reserve, and is home to aquatic and desert species along with migrants in the spring, such as the Temmiink's Horned Lark, Desert Lark, Hoopoe Lark, Desert Wheatear and Trumpeter Finch. In winter, Cranes and Imperial Eagles roam across this area, while in the Desert Castles area east of Amman you can see Thick-billed Lark and Red-rumped Wheatears.
In the western highland Mediterranean habitats, surrounded by open steppe country, the wooded areas of Ajloun, Zubia, Dibbin, and Dana are home to the Palestine Sunbird, Upchers, Orphean, and Sardinian Warbler. The more open steppe habitats typically contain the Spectacled Warbler, Long-billed Pipit, Black-eared Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike and Linnet.
The rift margins and valleys of the western highlands represent the crossroads of four bio-geographic zones. Wadi Shu'eib and Wadi Mujib with their perennial watercourses are home to beautiful Smirna Kingfisher, while at the magnificent rocky gorges of Wadi Rum, Dana, Mujib and Petra you can find the Griffon Vulture, Bonelli's Eagle, Hume's Towny Owl, Blackstart, different Wheatears, Scrub Warbler, Sinai Rose Finch, House Bunting, Tristram's Grackle and Fan-tailed Raven.
The Dead Sea area and Wadi Arabah are home to Arabian and African species such as the Sand Partridge, Bar-tailed Dunns and Hoopoe Larks, Little Green Bee-eater, Blackstart, and Arabian Warbler.
Several fine color guides to bird watching in Jordan have been published in recent years.
Important Bird Areas "IBAs" in Jordan
A total of 17 sites have been declared as IBAs in Jordan, covering 9.5%, of Jordan's area. Two of Jordan's national parks and the six nature reserves are IBAs.
Five of the IBA sites are fully protected by law, five are partially protected, and two further are officially proposed for legal protection.