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A Report from

Egypt, 6th March - 13th March 2010,

Jan Vermeulen


General Information                                                           
Itinerary (summary)                                                            
Daily Log
Systematic List of Birds



This report covers a package holiday/birding trip to Egypt from 6 – 13 March 2010. Vital & Riet van Gorp and my lady friend Willemien van Ginneken accompanied me. Egypt has attracted more and more attention over the last years as a great destination for birdwatchers. A country suitable both for the more leisurely tourist/birdwatcher-kind of travelling and for the “WP-birder” who has lots of exclusive species to seek out.

Much of the bird watching was done while cruising along the Nile. Some parts of the river were done at night, but most of it was seen in daylight.

There are large numbers of birds along the Nile, though some parts are much better than others. Areas where there were a lot of small islands and sandbanks in midstream were the best, along with areas where the banks were marshy. Setting up the telescope in the bow of the boat provided reasonable views, with very little vibration. Not everything seen could be identified. There is no second chance to identify a bird, and birds seen a little too far away or against the light had to be left unidentified.


There are plenty of charters to Egypt via Amsterdam. Our return-ticket (Transavia) including the cruise and a few days in a hotel in Hurghada cost us € 980,-- per person. The flights were punctual and trouble free.

Visas valid for 30 days are available on arrival in Egypt for €17.


The official currency of Egypt is the Egyptian Pound. The exchange rate was 7.50 Egyptian Pounds to the €.
All major credit cards and traveller cheques are accepted nearly everywhere.


The weather during our stay was hot, although at Hurghada it was a bit cooler.


Visitors to Egypt do not have to worry about malaria, yellow-fever and other tropical diseases. The most common maladies are stomach ailments (Pharaoh's revenge). Foreigners are advised to take the necessary precautions regarding what and where they eat and drink. Heat also has been known to take a toll on visitors so one should drink lots of water, wear a wide-brimmed hat and long-sleeved shirts are essential kit.



Ø       James F. Clements. Birds of the World. A Check List, Sixth Edition.
Ø       Nigel Wheatley. Where to watch birds in Africa.
Ø       R.F. Porter et al. Birds of the Middle East.
Ø       Heinzel, Fitter and Parslow. Birds of Britain and Europe with the Middle East and North Africa.



I use this software to keep track of the birds I have seen and to make lists of any country, labelling endemics and birds previously seen in that country, outside it, or both. BirdArea can produce checklists of the birds of any country of Clements’ world birds.


March   6    Chaam * Amsterdam (Transavia flight) * Luxor
March   7    Luxor * Karnack Temple * Luxor Temple * Valley of Kings * Al Deir Al Bahari Temple * Colossi of
March   8    Edfu * Edfu Temple * Kom Ombo
March   9    Aswan * Unfinished Obelisk * Aswan dam * Philea Temple * Kitchener Island
March  10   Aswan * Hurghada
March  11   Hurghada
March  12   Hurghada (Safage Mangroves – El Gauna Resort)
March  13   Hurghada * Amsterdam * Chaam


Saturday March 6

At 13.15 hours we left Amsterdam for our 4½ hours (time difference one hour in front of Dutch time) flight with Transavia to the airport of Luxor. It took only 5 minutes before we cleared customs (the price of visa was €17).

The humidity hit us like a sauna as we got off the plane, but the next week we were able to get accustomed to the temperature. A bus brought us to the Nile and we arrived on board our vessel the Semeiramus 3 about 19.30 local time, settled in and enjoyed dinner on board.

Sunday March 7

In the morning we visited the largest temple complex in Egypt at Karnack. Pallid Swifts were swooping around us, often coming right alongside and allowing us to look down on them below the raised, paved approaches and Rock Martins were there to greet us along with the local Brown-necked Ravens. Hereafter it was a bus ride to Valley of the Kings, which took around ¾ hr.  Amongst the birds seen here were Eurasian Hoopoe, Blue Rock-Thrush, many Trumpeter Finches and several authentic Rock Doves were seen. Less expected were 3 Eurasian Crag-Martins, a species with which we were familiar, which gave good close up views for several minutes. It appeared to be the only representative of this species here, although there were several Rock Martins present. We also visited the Al Deir Al Bahari Temple and the Colossi of Memnon, where we observed amongst others a Lanner Falcon and Zitting Cisticola. The boat finally started cruising at 2.00 p.m. and the afternoon view across the Nile gave many Little Egrets and Pied Kingfishers and Squacco Herons were flying along the Nile. Striated Heron, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Spur-winged Plover and Green Bee-eater were added along with Great Cormorant and Black-headed Gull very common, while we also saw a few Slender-billed Gulls. We berthed during the night at Edfu, up stream of what may well have been 100 tourist boats

Monday March 8

In the morning we visited the Edfu Temple of Horus. Here Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Common Bulbul and Brown-necked Raven were noted amongst the impressive buildings. Sailing on South at 11.30 a.m. (early morning visits to historical sites was to prove the norm, as a way of handling the heat), we spent the rest of the daylight hours on deck, birding from one side of the deck to the other trying to take in as much as possible of the islands and the nearer bank. The now familiar riverside birds continued to show and were complemented by several flocks of wildfowl, one of which contained four Garganeys. Shorebirds were difficult to identify and several smaller shorebirds went unidentified. However we did see Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper and Black-winged Stilts. New birds of prey included Eurasian Marsh-Harrier and Osprey. Colonies of Pied Kingfisher were seen at many places and we also noted many Whiskered Terns and a few Little Terns. We made a stop at Kom Ombo and then sailed on to Aswan.

Tuesday March 9

We awoke in Aswan and in the morning we visited the Unfinished Obelisk and the Aswan Dam. At the obelisk we saw our only Long-legged Buzzard of the trip and near the Aswan Dam the only three Egyptian Geese and 10 White Pelicans.

Later in the afternoon we took a felucca ride to the botanical garden on Kitchener Island. Here we had our first close and prolonged views of a Nile Valley Sunbird searching the blossoms of a shrub alongside the path. A familiar song from a bush was soon identified as an Eastern Olivaceous Warbler with its typical tail pumping action. In the evening we visited the Fryal Garden in Aswan, where a female Eurasian Sparrowhawk caught a Laughing Dove.

Wednesday March 10
This was largely a travelling day as we headed by bus to Hurghada. Via Luxor, Queon and Safage we drove to Hurghada an 8¾ hours bus trip. The usual and common birds were seen on this leg of the journey, amongst them Black-shouldered Kite, Blue-cheeked & Green Bee-eater, Crested Lark, White & Yellow Wagtail and Brown-necked Raven. We checked into the Sinbad Beach Resort and while enjoying a beer in the garden of the hotel we had excellent views of a Barbary Falcon.

Thursday March 11

In the morning we explored the vicinity of Hurghada trying to find the Hurghada Sewage Swamp. We could not find the swamp and while driving around along the shore we noted amongst others Sooty Gull, White-eyed Gull, Northern Wheatear, Desert Wheatear and Isabelline Wheatear.

The afternoon we spent in the swimming pool.

Friday March 12

The morning we spent 18 km south of Safaga at a small area of mangroves. The mangroves were viewable from the main coast road. Working our way along the coast produced great views of Western Reef-Heron, Eurasian Spoonbill, Lesser & Greater Sand-Plover and Common Redshank. After a prolonged game of hide and seek we got good views of a Sardinian Warbler. In the mangroves we also saw our only Common Kingfisher, while along the mangroves we added Tawny Pipit and Western Black-eared Wheatear to out trip list.

In the afternoon we visited the El Gauna Resort, situated 20 km north of Hurghada. En route to this resort we spotted Short-toed Eagle and Greater Hoopoe Lark. The resort has a golf course which attracts many birds and there is also a tidal creek which has many waders. We spent some time at the golf course and amongst the birds seen here were Eurasian Curlew, Sky Lark, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Willow Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Northern Wheatear and surprisingly a Pied Wheatear.

Saturday March 13

In the morning we made a stroll along the beach and added Caspian Tern to our trip list. This last day in Egypt we experienced the underwater world of the Red Sea without getting wet! We boarded  the Sinbad Submarine for an unforgettable underwater adventure, diving below the Red Sea and enjoyed the magical views of the underwater world at a depth of  25 meters.

We left Egypt at 21.20 and arrived in Amsterdam the next day in the middle of the night.

Chaam, 20 July 2010,                                                                                                                                                                   

If you need any help or further information, contact me at the following address and I'll try and help if I can!

Jan Vermeulen
Bredaseweg 14
4861 AH Chaam
The Netherlands
Telephone: (031) – 161 – 491327


This list follows the taxonomy, names and sequence of James F. Clements (Birds of the World, A Check List, Sixth Edition, 2007, including updates July 2007 – December 2009). This sixth edition is based primarily on the higher taxonomic sequence outlined in the “Handbook of the Birds of the World” series published by Lynx Edicions.
The Dutch names follow the translated "Complete Checklist of Birds of the World" (Complete Checklist van Vogels van de Wereld) of Michael Walters.
Numbers quoted are estimates of the minimum numbers seen.
The following abbreviations are used:
15+  = a minimum of 15 birds
(H)   = heard

1.       GREAT WHITE PELICAN, Pelecanus onocrotalus, Roze Pelikaan
10+ at the Aswan Dam.

2.       GREAT CORMORANT, Phalacrocorax carbo, Aalscholver
A common species along the Nile and a few at Hurghada.

3.       GREY HERON, Ardea cinerea, Blauwe Reiger
Common along the Nile and small numbers in the Hurghada area.

4.       PURPLE HERON, Ardea pupurea, Purperreiger
Up to 5 a day along the Nile.

5.       GOLIATH HERON, Ardea goliath, Reuzenreiger
Brief views of a flying heron was thought to be this species at the Safage Mangroves.

6.       GREAT EGRET, Egretta alba, Grote Zilverreiger
2 along the Nile.

7.       LITTLE EGRET, Egretta garzetta, Kleine Zilverreiger
A very common species along the Nile.

8.       WESTERN REEF-HERON, Garzetta gularis, Westelijke Rifreiger
2 at the Safage Mangroves near Hurghada and 1 at the El Gauna Resort.

9.       CATTLE EGRET, Bubulcus ibis, Koereiger
Fairly common along the Nile.

10.   STRIATED HERON, Butorides striata, Mangrovereiger
7 along the Nile.

11.   SQUACCO HERON,  Ardeola ralloides, Ralreiger
Common along the Nile.

12.   GLOSSY IBIS, Plegadis falcinellus, Zwarte Ibis
40+ along the Nile.

13.   EURASIAN SPOONBILL, Platalea leucorodia, Lepelaar
6 along the Nile and 1 at the Safage Mangroves..

14.   EGYPTIAN GOOSE, Alopochen aegyptiacus, Nijlgans
3 near the Aswan Dam.

15.   EURASIAN WIGEON, Anas penelope, Smient
Fairly common along the Nile.

16.   MALLARD, Anas platyrhynchos, Wilde Eend
Small numbers along the Nile.

17.   NORTHERN PINTAIL, Anas acuta, Pijlstaart
10+ along the Nile.

18.   GARGANEY, Anas querquedula, Zomertaling
4 along the Nile.

19.   NORTHERN SHOVELER, Anas clypeata, Slobeend
Fairly common along the Nile.

20.   TUFTED DUCK, Aythya fuligula, Kuifeend
Small numbers along the Nile.

21.   OSPREY, Pandion haliaetus, Visarend
Single ones along the Nile and at the Safage Mangroves.

22.   BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE, Elanus caeruleus, Grijze Wouw
6 en route Aswan – Hurghada.

23.   BLACK KITE, Milvus migrans, Zwarte Wouw
4 in the Luxor area, 4 along the banks of the Nile and small numbers en route Aswan – Hurghada.

24.   SHORT-TOED EAGLE, Circaetus gallicus, Slangenarend
A single sighting near Hurghada.

25.   EURASIAN MARSH-HARRIER, Circus aeruginosus, Bruine Kiekendief
2 along the Nile.

26.   MONTAGU’S HARRIER, Circus pygargus, Grauwe Kiekendief
A ♀ at the Safage Mangroves.

27.   EURASIAN SPARROWHAWK, Accipiter nisus, Sperwer
A ♀ in the Fryal Garden in Aswan catching a Laughing Dove.

28.   LONG-LEGGED BUZZARD, Buteo rufinus, Arendbuizerd
A single one at Aswan.

29.   EURASIAN KESTREL, Falco tinnunculus, Torenvalk
A rather common appearance in Egypt.

30.   LANNER FALCON, Falco biarmicus, Lannervalk
A single bird at the Al Deir Al Bahari Temple near Luxor.

31.   BARBARY FALCON, Falco pelegrinoides, Barbarijse Valk
A single bird near Hurghada.

32.   PURPLE SWAMPHEN, Porphyrio Porphyrio, Purperkoet
2 along the Nile.

33.   COMMON MOORHEN, Gallinula chloropus, Waterhoen
Fairly common along the Nile and 20+ at Aswan.

34.   EURASIAN COOT, Fulica atra, Meerkoet
4 near the Phliae Temple at Aswan..

35.   EURASIAN OYSTERCATCHER, Haematopus ostralegus, Scholekster
2 at the Safage Mangroves.

36.   BLACK-WINGED STILT, Himantopus himantopus, Steltkluut
100+ along the Nile.

37.   SPUR-WINGED PLOVER, Vanellus spinosus, Sporenkievit
Common along the Nile.

38.   LESSER SAND-PLOVER, Charadrius mongolus, Mongoolse Plevier
3 at the Safage Mangroves.

39.   GREATER SAND-PLOVER, Charadrius leschenaultii, Woestijnplevier
4 at the Safage Mangroves.

40.   WHIMBREL, Numenius phaeopus, Regenwulp
A single one along the Nile (H).

41.   EURASIAN CURLEW, Numenius arquata, Wulp
3 at the Safage Mangroves and 1 at the El Gouna Resort.

42.   COMMON REDSHANK, Tringa totanus, Tureluur
A single one at the Safage Mangroves.

43.   COMMON GREENSHANK, Tringa nebularia, Groenpootruiter
A single sighting along the Nile.

44.   WOOD SANDPIPER, Tringa glareola, Bosruiter
2 along the Nile.

45.   COMMON SANDPIPER, Actitis hypoleucos, Oeverloper
A single sighting along the Nile.

46.   RUFF, Philomachus pugnax, Kemphaan
40+ along the Nile.

47.   WHITE-EYED GULL, Larus leucophthalmus, Witoogmeeuw
Fairly common along the coast at Hurghada.

48.   SOOTY GULL, Larus hemprichii, Hemprichs Meeuw
Small numbers along the coast at Hurghada.

49.   YELLOW-LEGGED GULL, Larus michahellis, Geelpootmeeuw
Small numbers along the coast at Hurghada.

50.   BLACK-HEADED GULL, Larus ridibundus, Kokmeeuw
Abundant along the Nile.

51.   SLENDER-BILLED GULL, Larus genei, Dunbekmeeuw
4 along the Nile.

52.   CASPIAN TERN, Sterna caspia, Reuzenstern
A single one at Hurghada.

53.   LITTLE TERN, Sterna albifrons, Dwergstern
Small numbers along the Nile.

54.   WHISKERED TERN, Chlidonias hybridus, Visdief
Common along the Nile.

55.   ROCK PIGEON, Columba livia, Rotsduif
A few genuine ones in Luxor around the Temples.

56.   EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, Streptopelia decaocto, Turkse Tortel
4 at the Safage Mangroves.

57.   LAUGHING DOVE, Streptopelia senegalensis, Palmtortel
A common and widespread species.

58.   COMMON SWIFT, Apus apus, Gierzwaluw
Small numbers at Luxor and along the Nile.

59.   PALLID SWIFT, Apus pallidus, Vale Gierzwaluw
10+ at Luxor.

60.   COMMON KINGFISHER, Alcedo atthis, IJsvogel
A single sighting at the Safage Mangroves.

61.   PIED KINGFISHER, Ceryle rudis, Bonte IJsvogel
Common along the Nile and 1 at the Safage Mangroves.

62.   GREEN BEE-EATER, Merops orientalis, Kleine Groene Bijeneter
1 at Luxor and also 1 en route Aswan – Hurghada.

63.   BLUE-CHEEKED BEE-EATER, Merops persicus, Groene Bijeneter
1 at Edfu, 2 en route Aswan – Hurghada.

64.   EURASIAN HOOPOE, Upupa epops, Hop
2 at Luxor, 2 on Kitchener Island, 1 at Hurghada and 5 at the El Gauna Resort.

65.   GREATER HOOPOE-LARK, Alaemon alaudipes, Witbandleeuwerik
A single sighting near Hurghada.

66.   CRESTED LARK, Galerida cristata, Kuifleeuwerik
A single one en route Aswan – Hurghada.

67.   SKY LARK, Alauda arvensis, Veldleeuwerik
20+ at the El Gauna Resort.

68.   BANK SWALLOW (SAND MARTIN), Riparia riparia, Oeverzwaluw
Small numbers along the Nile.

69.   EURASIAN CRAG-MARTIN, Ptyonoprogne rupestris, Rotszwaluw
3 in the Valley of the Kings.

70.   ROCK MARTIN, Ptyonoprogne fuligula, Vale Rotszwaluw
Fairly common in the Luxor area.

71.   BARN SWALLOW, Hirundo rustica, Boerenzwaluw
A very common and widespread species.

72.   RED-RUMPED SWALLOW, Cecropis daurica, Roodstuitzwaluw
2 along the Nile and 2 at the Safage Mangroves.

73.   COMMON HOUSE-MARTIN, Delichon urbica, Huiszwaluw
A few along the Nile.

74.   WHITE WAGTAIL, Motacilla alba, Witte Kwikstaart
Small numbers daily and 75+ at our hotel in Hurghada.

75.   BLUE-HEADED WAGTAIL, Motacilla flava, Gele Kwikstaart
Seen daily in small numbers of mainly the Blue-headed form along with a few Black-headed also at Aswan.

76.   TAWNY PIPIT, Anthus campestris, Duinpieper
A few at the Safage Mangroves and 2 at the El Gauna Resort.

77.   COMMON BULBUL, Pycnonotus barbatus, Grauwe Buulbuul
3 along the Nile and 2 at Aswan.

78.   BLUE ROCK-THRUSH, Monticola solitarius, Blauwe Rotslijster
A single sighting of a ♂ in the Valley of the Kings.

79.   ZITTING CISTICOLA, Cisticola juncidis, Graszanger
A single sighting near Luxor.

80.   CLAMOROUS REED-WARBLER, Acrocephalus stentoreus, Indische Karekiet
A few along the Nile (H).

81.   EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER, Hippolais pallida, Oostelijke Vale Spotvogel
5 in the botanical garden on Kitchener Island.

82.   WILLOW WARBLER, Phylloscopus trochilus, Fitis
2 at the El Gauna Resort.

83.   COMMON CHIFFCHAFF, Phylloscopus collybita, Tjiftjaf
A few at the El Gauna Resort and in the garden of our hotel.

84.   WOOD WARBLER, Phylloscopus sibilatrix, Fluiter
2 at the El Gauna Resort.

85.   BLACKCAP, Sylvia atricapilla, Zwartkop
A single one (singing) at the Safage Mangroves.

86.   SARDINIAN WARBLER, Sylvia melanocephala, Kleine Zwartkop
3 at the Safage Mangroves.

87.   NORTHERN WHEATEAR, Oenanthe oenanthe, Tapuit
Small numbers daily in the Hurghada area.

88.   PIED WHEATEAR, Oenanthe pleschanka, Bonte Tapuit
A ♀ at the El Gauna Resort.

89.   WESTERN BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR, Oenanthe hispanica, Westelijke Blonde Tapuit
A single one at the Safage Mangroves.

90.   DESERT WHEATEAR, Oenanthe deserti, Woestijntapuit
3 near Hurghada and 1 at the Safage Mangroves.

91.   ISABELLINE WHEATEAR, Oenanthe isabellina, Izabeltapuit
Small numbers daily in the Hurghada area.

92.   NILE VALLEY SUNBIRD, Hedydipna metallica, Nijlhoningzuiger
8 in the botanical garden on Kitchener Island.

93.   HOODED CROW, Corvus cornix, Bonte Kraai
A very common and widespread species in Egypt.

94.   BROWN-NECKED RAVEN, Corvus ruficollis, Bruinnekraaf
Seen in small numbers daily.

95.   HOUSE SPARROW, Passer domesticus, Huismus
Very common near villages and cities.

96.   SPANISH SPARROW, Passer hispaniolensis, Spaanse Mus
5 at the El Gauna Resort.

97.   TRUMPETER FINCH, Bucanetes githaginea, Woestijnvink
40+ at the Valley of the Kings.


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