Middle East

Migratory Soaring Birds

Imperial Eagle. Photo: Omar Fadhil




The Red Sea/Rift valley hosts the migration of over 2 million birds through the region, with Soaring Birds in huge flocks numbering tens of thousands migrating from wintering grounds in Africa to breeding grounds in Europe and Central Asia and vice versa along the second biggest Flyway in the world.

Yet this area is also subject to huge development pressures, as increased demands for energy, food supply, and tourism lead to significant changes in land use and generate the need for increased waste management. Indiscriminate hunting and illegal killing of birds is widespread. Thus, these five sectors of Agriculture, Energy, Hunting, Tourism and Waste Management can create an increasingly inhospitable environment for Migrating Soaring Birds and have the potential to affect populations of soaring birds across three continents.

The Migratory Soaring Birds (MSB) project aims to integrate conservation of visiting birds into these key sectors of our societies.

This is being achieved through partnerships and strategic alliances with private businesses, NGOs, governments, international organizations. We are working with these sectors in order to incorporate protection of the flyway at the heart of the development decisions and land use changes within the region, and in the case of hunting, working with governments and sustainable hunting organizations to protect MSBs from illegal killing.

We also call on the concept of hospitality towards visiting guests, a concept deeply rooted in the culture of our region. Finally, we ask for an understanding of the importance of birds in preserving our environment. Vultures are fundamental to a healthy African and Middle Eastern environment, as crucial scavengers.  Birds also eat and control agricultural pests, their migration spectacle attracts eco-tourists from around the globe and their presence acts as indicators of how well we succeed in achieving sustainable development in our region.

The Migratory Soaring Birds project is working in 11 countries within the Rift Valley/Red Sea Flyway: Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.