SEEN - SE European Bird Migration Network
Historical background on bird migration studies in Egypt

Wed Abdel Latif Ibrahim

M. Sc. Environmental Planning, Wadi El Rayan Protected Area, NCS, EEAA, State Ministry of Environmental Affairs, Egypt

The Afrotropical region receives migrants from the northern hemisphere. Numbers of Palaearctic birds arriving in sub-Saharan African are estimated to be 3750 million, about one million of which are waterbirds (Moreau 1972). Only 20 million km2 is capable of receiving the migrants, of the 29 millions km2 area of Africa. The rest is occupied by the inhospitable Sahara (BirdLife 2005).
One of the main flyways for migration from Palaearctic to Africa is the River Jordan to the Nile Valley flyway, which is considered as the most significant corridor for bird migration in the world, and is the main eastern corridor between Europe/Asia and Africa that is used by over a million birds to pass through a series of migratory bottleneck sites during migration seasons. From this corridor, birds enter Egypt and then fly through Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and southern Africa (Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa). This route takes birds from central Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia (BirdLife 2005).
Avifauna is an important component of the Egyptian biological resources; indeed, it is the most diverse and prominent of all the country’s non-aquatic vertebrate fauna (Baha El Din 1999). There are more than 470 bird species recorded in Egypt. The majority are non-breeding seasonal visitors (Fishpool and Evans 2001). Only about 150 species are breeding residents found in Egypt year round (Baha Din 1999). Egypt has international importance for birds with globally significant populations of breeding, wintering and migrating birds, including some 19 globally threatened species (IUCN 2000).
Studying migration in the north Sahara, especially Egypt, migration has attracted the scientists since the seventies, when they started to study bird diversity and distribution using different monitoring methodologies including bird ringing. During such studies a lot of recoveries from and in Egypt have been recorded. We will present the main result of the available studies in brief and the key strategies of the running migration studying programme in the future.

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