IBRCE - Eilat Birdwatching Center

Intro

Eilat is one of the most important hotspots for migratory birds in the world. Situated on the only overland bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa, it's a bottleneck that hosts hundreds of millions of migratory birds; it's also the last haven before the foodless and hostile Saharan desert.

 

The IBRCE lies on what was once a saltmarsh before it was turned into an industrial waste site and is an example of cooperation between a municipality and environmental organisation. Today the IBRCE is one of the most unique and important birding sites in the country, with millions of birds passing through the area during the main migration seasons. More than 480 species of birds have been recorded in the Eilat area - probably the greatest bird diversity in the western Palearctic!

 

The IBRCE is also deeply involved in nature conservation work and campaigns throughout the Southern Arava region, making sure the desert skies are clear from hazards and the stop-over sites are safe and welcoming for the birds. We also conduct research to support our conservation work (studying the condition of the migrants, birds as pest controllers in fields, etc…), we run educational programs for schools, events and community engagement and make the bird sanctuary a hub for environmental culture.

 

Detail

The IBRCE focuses on conservation, research and monitoring of migrant birds. Visitors can follow wheelchair-accessible trails that lead to cool, shady hides looking out over different areas of the park where you can see a variety of local and migratory birdlife. In the visitors centre and shop, you'll find up-to-date information and sightings news, exclusive merchandise, maps, guides and more.

During spring and autumn (15th Feb to 15th May & 15th Aug to 30th Nov) you can watch bird ringing and see many of these incredible species upclose and in the hand!

 

Entrance to the bird sanctuary is free and the gate never closes.

Two professional photography hides are built under the ground and are available with prior arrangement for a small fee - one is located on a small artificial drinking pool, and the other is on the edge of the freshwater lake.

Guided tours of the sanctuary or birding tours of Eilat and Southern Arava can be booked in advance.

 


visit our website - eilatbirds.com

Birds of Eilat - Blog

And our page on Facebook


 

Best time to visit and why?

The best times to visit the IBRCE are during spring and autumn migration season. The third week of March is the International Eilat Birds Festival – a huge draw for birders from around the world, when the skies fill with thousands of hirundines and birds of prey, while thousands of passerines can be found feeding in the sanctuary, fields and greenspaces around Eilat.

We recommend the second half of March and the second half of April for abundancy and diversity of birds, but any time through March, April, the first half of May, and September through to November are great. Winter brings specialities that are well worth a visit (with cheap direct flights to Eilat from most of Europe) and summer provides the best sea watching.

Seasonal Highlights (key species / families / spectacles):

 

Spring

March is a wonderful time to observe all kinds of Sylvia warblers (Rüppell's, Eastern Orphean, Subalpine and many more), Bee-eaters, Swifts, Short-toed Eagles and Lesser Kestrels; Chiffchaffs and Balkan (Eastern Bonelli's) Warblers, Cretzschmar's and Ortolan Buntings are common. The airspace of the mountains and the sanctuary offer great chances to watch huge numbers of Steppe Eagles, Steppe Buzzards, Black Kites and Black Storks and Egyptian vultures and many other broad-winged migrants. The pools and reservoirs fill with returning waders and every bush, pool and green area becomes a migrant magnet. At night, Egyptian Nightjars and Pharaoh Eagle Owl are a good option. By April, migration is in full swing with thousands of passerines, waders and birds of prey moving through. Olive-tree and Barred Warblers close the spring season with Orioles, Rose-colored Starlings, Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Levant Sparrowhawks and hundreds of thousands of Honey-buzzards in early May.

 

Summer

As well as common breeding species, the North Beach offers great sea-watching. Among large numbers of Common and Little Terns, rarer terns such as Lesser-crested, White-cheeked and Bridled can be seen in double figures, and Sooty and Cory's Shearwaters and all three Skuas make an appearance. Summer is also time to enjoy our breeding desert species such as Hoopoe Larks, Trumpeter Finches and various Wheatears.

 

Autumn

Countless migrants heading south from their breeding grounds, including numerous Blackcaps, Reed Warblers, Lesser Whitethroats, Eastern Olivaceous Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Balkan and Willow Warblers as well  as shrikes, pipits, larks and hirundines. Raptor movements comes late to Eilat but this where you can see massive movements of Steppe Eagle, Steppe Buzzards and much more in November, which can be a brilliant time of year for eastern rarities  - Oriental Skylarks and Buff Bellied Pipits are in the fields and wader migration is awesome!

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Winter

Wintering Bluethroats, Dead Sea Sparrow and Crested Honey-buzzards can be seen withinh the IBRCE, and nearby Wadis host Sinai Rosefinch, Cyprus and Desert Warblers and possibly Striated Scops Owls. Oriental Skylark, Buff-bellied and Richard's Pipits occupy agricultural areas as well as good numbers of Wheatears (including the rare Basalt Wheatear) and wintering Larks (Bar tailed, Temminck's and Hoopoe) in the local desert. Pallas’s Gull is possible on the salt ponds.

 

Opening times:

The sanctuary is open all day. The shop is open from 08:00 to 15:30 and ringing is carried out between 15th Feb to 15th May & 15th Aug to 30th Nov from 06:00 to 10:00 daily.

 

 

 

Check out our new IBRCE booklet - Click HERE

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Events

Eilat Birds Festival

land marks