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Rare winter migratory birds start arriving in Oman

9 Nov 2021 By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Oman has started witnessing a large number of migratory birds arriving from various parts of the world.

The Environment Authority (EA) confirmed that the natural reserves in the sultanate are currently seeing the arrival of migratory birds from different parts of Europe and Asia, marking the beginning of the winter migration season.

‘Bird watchers are sighting rare migratory birds. Oman has 70 sites that fall in the winter migratory flightpath of certain bird species.’

Aziza Saud al Athaibi, head of Wetlands Management Department at EA, said, “Oman’s environment, especially the marine environment, is fertile and provides abundant food for these birds. Owing to its unique environmental conditions, the sultanate has 70 stopover sites for migratory birds.

“The birds from East Africa and Central Asia stop in the sultanate on their winter migration, which is one of the largest and most important migratory routes of birds.”

Aziza also informed that the sultanate has enacted a number of laws to preserve wildlife, including signing international and regional agreements to preserve and protect various bird species.

Among the most important stopovers for birds in Oman is Barr al Hikman in Al Wusta. In 2017, a team from Wetlands International found more than half a million birds wintering in Barr al Hikman, and recorded a total of 63 waterbird species at the site in 2017-2019.

Overall, the shorebird density on the intertidal mudflats of Barr al Hikman is among the highest recorded globally, making it one of the most important coastal wetlands in the world.

Oman has more than 20 nature reserves which aim to preserve biological diversity and promote the sultanate in the world of ecotourism.

In this context, EA seeks to conduct studies and provide tourism and entertainment facilities for guests inside nature reserves.

Oman’s nature reserves attract a large number of tourists, both domestic and international, even though the country has seen a drastic drop in foreign tourist numbers.

Nature reserves in Oman are a major tourist attraction, offering sightings of rare birds, as well providing camping and diving facilities to enjoy nature.

According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information and EA, 20,566 people visited nature reserves in the sultanate in 2020, compared to 359,225 in 2019 and 305,405 in 2018.

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