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This is a list of the species of birds found in Egypt, a country in north-east Africa. The avifauna of Egypt include a total of 498 species of birds, of which thirteen are classified as globally threatened and five have been identified as having been introduced to Egypt. None of the species are endemic to Egypt.
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. All of the birds below are included in the total bird count for Egypt.
The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories. The commonly occurring, native, species do not fall into any of these categories.
Order: Struthioniformes. Family: Struthionidae
Order: Gaviiformes. Family: Gaviidae
Loons, known as divers in Europe, are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Europe. They are the size of a large duck or small goose, which they somewhat resemble when swimming, but to which they are completely unrelated.
Order: Podicipediformes. Family: Podicipedidae
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.
Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Diomedeidae
The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds.
Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Procellariidae
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum, and a long outer functional primary.
Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Hydrobatidae
The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.
Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Phaethontidae
Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings.
Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Pelecanidae
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.
Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Sulidae
The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium to large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish.
Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Phalacrocoracidae
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.
Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Anhingidae
Darters are often called "snake-birds" because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. The males have black and dark-brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. The darters have completely webbed feet and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving.
Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ardeidae
The Ardeidae family 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. Unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted.
Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ciconiidae
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.
Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Threskiornithidae
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.
Order: Phoenicopteriformes. Family: Phoenicopteridae
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 oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down.
Order: Anseriformes. Family: Anatidae
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.
Order: Falconiformes. Family: Pandionidae
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.
Order: Falconiformes. Family: Accipitridae
Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and 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.
Order: Falconiformes. Family: Falconidae
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. In Ancient Egyptian only one species is depicted as breeding in the Delta and called HrT (meaning unknown).
Order: Galliformes. Family: Phasianidae
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.
Order: Gruiformes. Family: Gruidae
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".
Order: Gruiformes. Family: Rallidae
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, 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.
Order: Gruiformes. Family: Otididae
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.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Rostratulidae
Painted-snipe are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but more brightly coloured.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Dromadidae
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.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Haematopodidae
The oystercatchers are large and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Recurvirostridae
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.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Burhinidae
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.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Pluvianidae
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Glareolidae
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.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Charadriidae
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.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Scolopacidae
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.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Stercorariidae
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.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Laridae
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls and kittiwakes. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Sternidae
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.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Rynchopidae
Skimmers are a small family of tropical tern-like birds. They have an elongated lower mandible which they use to feed by flying low over the water surface and skimming the water for small fish.
Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Alcidae
Alcids are superficially similar to penguins due to their black-and-white colours, their upright posture and some of their habits, however they are not related to the penguins and differ in being able to fly. Auks live on the open sea, only deliberately coming ashore to nest.
Order: Pterocliformes. Family: Pteroclididae
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.
Order: Columbiformes. Family: Columbidae
Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere.
Order: Psittaciformes. Family: Psittacidae
Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and they have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two to the back.
Order: Cuculiformes. Family: Cuculidae
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs.
Order: Strigiformes. Family: Tytonidae
Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons.
Order: Strigiformes. Family: Strigidae
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.
Order: Caprimulgiformes. Family: Caprimulgidae
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.
Order: Apodiformes. Family: Apodidae
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.
Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Alcedinidae
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails.
Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Meropidae
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.
Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Coraciidae
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.
Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Upupidae
Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head.
Order: Piciformes. Family: Picidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Alaudidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Hirundinidae
The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterised by their adaptation to aerial feeding. These adaptations include 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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Motacillidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Pycnonotidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Regulidae
The kinglets or 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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Hypocoliidae
The grey hypocolius is a small Middle Eastern bird with the shape and soft plumage of a waxwing. They are mainly a uniform grey colour except the males have a black triangular mask around their eyes.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Troglodytidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Prunellidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Turdidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cisticolidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Scotocercidae
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cettiidae
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Locustellidae
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Phylloscopidae
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sylviidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Muscicapidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Leiothrichidae
The laughingthrushes are somewhat diverse in size and colouration, but are characterised by soft fluffy plumage.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Paridae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Remizidae
The penduline tits are a group of small passerine birds, related to the true tits. They are insectivores.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Nectariniidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Oriolidae
The Old World orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Laniidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Malaconotidae
Bushshrikes are similar in habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be either colourful species or largely black; some species are quite secretive.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Corvidae
The Corvidae family 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. Ancient Egyptian names for crow or raven species include at least gbgb > gbg3/g3bgw/qbq (this bird is once called 'black', its eggs could apparently be gathered according to a medical papyrus, and therefore points to a breeding bird of Egypt). In demotic an cbq-bird can be determined by help of the existence of Coptic ABOOK 'Crow, raven'
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sturnidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Ploceidae
The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Estrildidae
The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have wide variation in plumage colours and patterns.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Emberizidae
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.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Fringillidae
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 12 tail feathers and 9 primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well.
Order: Passeriformes. Family: Passeridae
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.
Digital object identifier, Paleogene, Lari, Evolution, Late Cretaceous
Procellariidae, Cretaceous, Paleogene, New Zealand, Extinction
Fossil, Piciformes, Evolution, Paleogene, Bucerotiformes
Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Ancient Egypt, Middle East