Birds of the U.A.E.
Having borrowed Sophia’s 70-300 mm lens recently, I venture out to the great outdoors (read: the open area behind my office building) for some bird watching and photography.
Taking picture of birds is quite challenging. They sit prettily, looking all posed for a beautiful picture. They remain in that ideal pose and wait for you to play with the lens until you get that perfect focus.
And in that fraction of a second when you’re just about to hit the shutter release button, they conveniently fly away.
Here are a few pictures I took today. These are the birds I see on a daily basis, specially during these cooler months. Information about the birds is mainly taken from Wikipedia.
The House Sparrow:
This is probably the most commonly sighted bird here in the U.A.E.
The House Sparrow originated in the Middle East and spread—along with agriculture—to parts of North Africa then later to the rest of the world, through natural and ship-borne dispersal.
The House Sparrow is strongly associated with human habitations and can live in urban or rural settings. It feeds mostly on the seeds of grains and weeds, but I’ve seen them eat french fries and pizza as well.
Interesting fact: Described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758, the House Sparrow was among the first animals to be given a scientific name in the modern system of biological classification.
The Red Vented Bulbul:
Mainly the residents of India, these birds have found their way to the U.A.E., and you can frequently spot them during the cooler months.
The Red-vented Bulbul is easily identified by its short crest giving the head a squarish appearance. The body is dark brown with a scaly pattern while the head is black. The rump is white while the vent is red. The black tail is tipped in white.
Red-vented bulbuls feed on fruits, petals of flowers, nectar, and insects.
Interesting fact: These birds are considered as pests because of their habit of damaging fruit crops.
The Common Myna:
The Myna is an open woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, and has adapted extremely well to urban environments.
The Common Myna uses the nests of woodpeckers, parakeets, etc. and has been known to evict the chicks of previously nesting pairs by holding them in the beak. This aggressive behavior is considered to contribute to its success as an invasive species.
Interesting fact: The Common Myna widely appears under the name saarika in Indian culture from Vedic times, featuring both in classical Indian literature (Sanskrit) as well as in Buddhist texts.
The Laughing Dove:
The Laughing Dove is a small (but very pretty!) pigeon that is a resident breeder in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East east, and the Indian Subcontinent.
The species is usually seen in pairs or small parties and only rarely in larger groups. Larger groups are formed especially when drinking at waterholes in arid regions.
Interesting fact: This particular Laughing Dove is observed to what seems like looking after its sick companion. They were sitting near a water basin and wouldn’t leave each other. Here’s a picture of them together:
The White-eared Bulbul:
These birds are found in Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, north-western India, and on the Arabian peninsula.
In the U.A.E., you’ll find parties of these birds in every little oasis of greenery, as they pick away at insects and grains.
Couldn’t find any interesting facts about them, sorry.
My favorite from this post! The Hoopoe is a very beautiful bird that is widespread in Europe, Asia, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. It is notable for its distinctive ‘crown’ of feathers.
The Hoopoe is monogamous, although this means that the bond merely lasts for a single season. They are also territorial, with the male calling frequently to advertise his ownership of the territory. Birds will try to stab rivals with their bills, and individuals are occasionally blinded in fights.
Hoopoes appear in the Quran in Surah Al-Naml 27:20–22 in the following context:
“And he (Solomon) sought attendance among the birds and said: How is it that I see not the hoopoe, or is he among the absent? I will surely punish him with a severe punishment or slaughter him unless he brings me clear authorization. But the hoopoe stayed not long and said, “I have encompassed [in knowledge] that which you have not encompassed, and I have come to you from Sheba with certain news.”
What types of birds do you commonly see in your area?