One day while on holiday in Oman, I was fascinated by the avian riches found in this region. Specifically, I was excited to see the migratory owls, spiderhunters and sunbirds, all members of the abietinus family. But there was more to Oman’s rich birdlife than I could ever imagine! Read on to learn about Oman’s sunbirds, rallidae, and spiderhunters!
Oman’s avian riches
The avian richness of Oman is amazing. The country is the crossroads between African and Asian species. The country’s mountains are home to a wide variety of birds, including the Arabian tahr and the Nile Valley Sunbird, as well as the enigmatic Grey Hypocolius. Among other species, the aforementioned species are only found in Oman.
The Arabian Peninsula’s arid climate and temperate climate make Oman an excellent destination for birding, a field trip in which you’ll discover a plethora of birds from every continent. Oman’s avifauna contains a unique mixture of migrant species, breeding species, and speciality birds, including many rare and endangered species. You can even take a birding tour to Oman, starting in Muscat.
Oman’s history of seafaring goes back to the 3rd century BCE, when Sumerian records mention Omani ships transporting copper from Sohar to Mesopotamia. One myth has it that Sinbad the Sailor originated in Oman. Since then, Omani explorers have crisscrossed the Indian Ocean. In fact, their ships have been named after the legendary pirate Sinbad, who may have been an Omani.
Oman’s endemic sunbirds are an absolute must-see on a visit to the country. While the Pied Kingfisher is the most common sunbird in the country, it is also rare to see in winter. Some of the most beautiful Oman sunbirds include the Menetries Warbler, the eighth-frequently-sighted Pied Kingfisher, and the Black-throated Thrush, the country’s only migrant.
The male sunbird defends its breeding territory and tends to the young. Female sunbirds build their ball-shaped nests with cobwebs as adhesive. Incubation lasts about 15 to 17 days. The eggs hatch after about fifteen days, and the female tends to them for about three weeks. Oman’s sunbirds are polygamous and can live as long as 22 years, despite being captive.
Palestine Sunbird: This species is the smallest of the country’s sunbirds. Its glossy green head and bright yellow belly contrast with a long, thin tail. It breeds in gardens, oases, and acacia scrub. It has a large range of habitats. Unlike the other sunbirds, Palestine Sunbirds are mainly nocturnal and are not a threat to humans.
Oman is home to two endemic species of spiderbirds, the rufus pugnax and the ruff. Both species are insectivores and eat other spiders. Their diet is similar to that of other sunbirds, although they occasionally eat spiders from their own webs. Currently, the rufus pugnax and ruff are in decline. However, there are some measures to protect these species and conserve their habitat.
The Rallidae of Oman consists of a range of passerine birds, including shrikes and bushshrikes. These small, flightless birds feed on nectar from the trees and bushes around them, although they also take insects as part of their diet. Most species of shrikes and bushshrikes are black and largely coloured, and are both very secretive and difficult to spot.
These small passerine birds, closely related to finches, have short, rounded bills and strong, slender legs. Their plumage is dark with a metallic sheen and they typically feed on fruit and insects. Despite their small size, weavers and sparrows are gregarious and have striking plumage patterns. These species are found throughout the world, and some populations live only in Oman.
The monarch flycatcher belongs to the family Sylviidae, which includes passerine birds. The monarch flycatcher is one of the most iconic species in Oman, but it has only one species here. The family also includes babblers, which range in size from small to medium, with fluffy plumage. This group is closely related to the penduline tit, which is another small passerine bird. There are 13 species of penduline tits in the world, and they are mostly found in open country, such as pastureland and scrubland.
If you’re interested in identifying the species of Woodpeckers native to Oman, you’ll want to pick up this book. The authors, Richard Porter and Simon Aspinall, have authored several guides for other regions of the Middle East. The Oman field guide is no exception, and features good illustrations and an 11-page checklist. It’s an excellent addition to a country-level field guide and contains information on all five28 species found here.
Oman is home to two species of woodpeckers – a rooster-like bird and a black-and-white ring-necked roller. Although they resemble crows, they are closer in coloration to bee-eaters and kingfishers. Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with streamlined bodies and a long, curved bill. They have three toes on each foot and a short, stiff tail. They tap on tree trunks to catch insects.
Oman’s coastal khors offer excellent bird watching opportunities. The coastal wetlands are home to many species of shorebirds and migrants. Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Lesser Flamingo, Little Bittern, and Baillon’s Crakes are regular residents. A rare species of woodpecker is the Pale Rock Sparrow. Other birds that make Oman a great birding destination are the Pale Rock Sparrow, the Persian Shearwater, and the Lappet-faced Vulture.
Larks of Oman are small terrestrial birds with flamboyant songs and showy displays. Their diet consists of seeds and insects. They are found across the southern part of the Old World. This small, colorful bird is often found in open country. Its most common lark species are the clamorous reed warbler and the bar-tailed desert lark. The birds are often easily recognizable by their distinctive rufous-tipped tails and rufous-tipped wings with dark trailing edges.
Larks of Oman are part of the family Jacanidae. They are known for their enormous feet and claws. They prefer muddy and shallow lakes and feed on small invertebrates. They are also found in the forests around Al Sohar Farms. If you’re visiting the country, be sure to find the Larks of Oman. While it is not common to see them in Oman, you can still spot them in the wild.
Birding in Oman is easy thanks to the avifauna. You can expect to see migrant birds as well as residents. Some species of the region are endemic to the country, while others are introduced. The birds of Oman are very diverse and include a unique mix of endemic and migrant species. Depending on the time of year, you may see the Larks of Oman, Egyptian Nightjar, Mourning Wheatear, and Grey Hypocolius.
The ibises and spoonbills of Oman are members of the Threskiornithidae family. These birds have long, broad wings and 11 primary and 20 secondary feathers, which make them powerful fliers. The family includes 33 species in the world, including four in Oman. This article will highlight the differences between the ibis and spoonbill of Oman, and provide a closer look at both.
The Sacred Ibis is an ancient species of ibis. It is a monotypic species, but previously considered conspecific with the Malagasy Sacred Ibis. The bird has fossil records dated back 60 million years. It is best known for its role in ancient Egyptian religion. They were revered as the embodiment of the god ‘Thoth’ and many were mummified in Egyptian tombs.
The terns are small, medium-sized seabirds with a white or gray plumage and black markings on their heads. They hunt fish by diving, although some species also pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Threskiornithidae of Oman includes 18 species of terns. In Oman, they are known as Skimmers. These birds are similar to terns but have a elongated lower mandible.
The Recurvirostridae are waders in the suborder Charadrii. They are divided into two groups, avocets and stilts. Avocets are small birds with long legs and a bill about the same size as a human’s. Both species are considered endangered, and their plight has prompted conservationists to look for other species of waders.
The large, black-and-white frigatebirds are the largest birds in the world. Their long, forked tails and oversized wings make them very difficult to catch on land. The males have inflated throat pouches that allow them to float for weeks at a time. Oman is home to only one species of the frigatebird. Its smallest species, the Oman Frigid, is a protected species.
Oman is home to four species of sunbirds. These small passerines feed mainly on nectar and also eat insects when they feed their young. Their short legs and streamlined bodies allow them to fly at high speeds. They are ungainly on land, with feet placed far back on the body. The Recurvirostridae of Oman includes 4 species. You will find them in both freshwater and saltwater environments.