5 Great Locations for Birdwatching in Israel

October 8th 2018

Every year, millions of birds migrate through Israel, to and from their Eurasian breeding grounds. Birdwatchers and ornithologists from around the world flock to watch these migrations as they happen. Thanks to Israel’s unique position as a meeting point between three different continents, there’s a huge diversity of bird species to be viewed.

During the height of the migration seasons, up to 200 bird species can be spotted in the skies above Israel. Many species also choose to make this beautiful little country their winter home, some of which are very rare and much sought out by enthusiastic birders.

Bird species in Israel

Some of the popular species among birdwatchers in Israel include the Long-billed Pipit and the Syrian Serin. Various birds of prey can be spotted throughout the year including Honey Buzzards, Levant Sparrowhawks and Steppe Eagles, most notably in the southern valleys. Swifts and swallows never fail to delight with their acrobatic flight movements. There are also multiple species of owls, skylarks, storks, vultures, warblers, waders, and pelicans, to name but just a few.

With so many fascinating species of birds to be seen, here are some of the best locations for birdwatching in Israel


Probably the most popular location to view birds in Israel is in and around the southern city of Eilat. Millions upon millions of birds migrate through the surrounding Arava Desert and the migrations are renowned among birdwatchers worldwide.

The International Birdwatching and Research Center (IBRCE) in Eilat features trails and hides visitors can use near to various bird habitats and migration routes.

Hula Valley

The Hula Valley, in the far north of Israel, is another prime location for bird watching. It’s a popular destination for birders due to the estimated 500 million birds that pass through every year along the Syrian-African Rift Valley.

The Hula Valley Bird Watching Center provides birdwatchers with educational activities as well as places to settle down and watch millions of birds, either passing overhead or landing in the nearby wetlands. Species seen include cranes, storks, egrets, kingfishers, and gulls.

Mount Hermon

Mount Hermon is a cluster of three high peaks which are located on the northern border of the Golan Heights in Israel. Visitors to this beautiful mountainous region, popular with skiers, can view both migratory and local bird species which like to remain at higher altitudes.

Species you can spot here include the Black Kite, Long-legged Buzzard, Short-Toed Eagle, Western Rock Nuthatch, and numerous other species of robins, serins, finches, and birds of prey. There are also many unique species of butterfly to be found in the Hermon nature reserve.

Ramat HaNegev

The heart of the Negev Desert is another fantastic place to view migrating birds. Midway between the city of Beersheba and the famous Ramon Crater, is a desert birding sanctuary known as the Ramat HaNegev Birding Center. As one might expect, the center is home to desert breeding birds including raptors, vultures, eagles, falcons, buzzards, and even songbirds.

The center provides educational activities and tours for visitors all year-round.

Jerusalem Bird Observatory

The Jerusalem Bird Observatory in the heart of Israel’s capital city is probably the easiest bird center to get to. Situated right by the Israeli parliament building, the observatory is a great place to discover more about native and migratory birds throughout Israel. The center is especially popular with children and is a nice location in which to introduce young minds to the wonders of ornithology.

Despite being in the center of the city, the JBO is a popular landing ground for migrating and wintering birds including nightingales, robins, flycatchers, bramblings, and many native species including Israel’s national bird, the Hoopoe.