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Birds attract foreign tourists, boost biodiversity

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The Environment Authority in the Al Batinah South Governorate received a raptor. Mohammed al Khateri from Al Rustaq handed over the bird to the authorities after he found it injured in the wild.

The bird has been taken to the Biodiversity Center in Barka to receive the necessary care.

The authority stated it appreciated the contribution of community members in preserving the natural life in the Sultanate of Oman.

Today, birding is a growing tourism attraction and is becoming the nation’s natural wealth. An example is Barcelona Birding Point, a birding and wild-watching travel agency that conducts tours to Europe, Africa and beyond. It describes Oman as a link between two continents.

It stated, “This area of the world has been a natural “bridge” between Asia and Africa for thousands of years. Nowadays, we find a beautiful combination of bird endemics from the Arabian Peninsula plus several overwintering Asian species (coming from Iran to India) and a selected core of species that once colonised the region from the Horn of Africa.” Their tour begins in Muscat, with a pair of days of birding around the town where the visitors will be looking out for some key species including Indian Silverbill, Oriental Honey-Buzzard, Pallid Scops Owl and Arabian Babbler in addition to birdlife concentrated in the local wetlands and, “That may include everything from Palla’s Gull and Pin-tailed Snipe to White-tailed Lapwing and Indian Pond Heron.” A star attraction in the Hajar Mountains is the Omani Owl.

“Meanwhile, we will search for a different set of specialities from Lapped-faced Vulture to Plain Leaf Warbler, and from Hooded Wheatear to Eversmann’s Redstart,” they state.

From Muscat to the coast in the North of Al Duqm, in search of the iconic Crab Plover, waders, gulls and terns are much appreciated. According to the birdwatchers, the journey through deserts would provide them with first views on various birdlife, from Asian Desert & Ménétries’ Warblers to Greater Hoopoe & Black-crowned Sparrow Larks.

Salalah is to showcase many more species, including Grey Hypocolius, Arabian Scops Owl, Jouanin’s Petrel, Arabian Wheatear, Yemen Serin, Arabian Warbler, Nile Valley Sunbird and Arabian Golden-winged Grosbeak. The Dhofar Mountains are currently green; however, they become dry in winter; still, they are a haven for bird watchers. pointed out, “But in winter, the slopes of deciduous trees and the plateaus covered by dry pastures host a wide variety of African birdlife from African Paradise Flycatcher to Blackstart, and from Bruce Green Pigeon to Abyssinian White-eye.” Salalah is also known for the huge concentration of Steppes Eagles. Along with them are Imperial and Greater Spotted Eagles and Abdim’s Storks.

“In their wetlands, we expect to find from Cotton Pygmy Goose to Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, with good numbers of Terek & Temmicks Sandpipers overwintering plus some Long-toed and Broad-billed Sandpipers,” they point out.

Qatbait area in the Wilayat of Maqshan is presently witnessing a big presence of global bird-watchers. The area is a sanctuary and a resting place for wild birds migrating between Africa and North Asia. Qatbait area is also home to several species of local birds.

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