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Dubai Safari is new transit point for migratory birds.

Summary: Migratory birds are now making a stop at the Dubai Safari

Staff Reporter

Over a dozen Arabian Green Bee-eaters have taken residence at the Dubai Safari

Dubai Safari, which opened its doors to the public last week, is home to the wildlife of the world for conservation breeding. Now, it has also become a haven for migratory birds and some of the UAE's local birds.

The conservation team of the Dubai Safari has already recorded nearly 80 species of birds, 70 per cent of which are migratory and the rest are resident, either breeding inside the Safari or its neighbourhood. Most recent arrivals are four sub-adult Greater Flamingoes, which migrated to the UAE with a small population, breeding in the islands of Abu Dhabi. The birds came from northern Iran and parts of Central Asia.

The safari conservation team, headed by Dr Reza Khan, principal wildlife specialist, is responsible for recording the plants that grow naturally in the Safari, and the animals visiting, on transit or becoming permanent resident there.

This winter, the Dubai Safari received four new passage migrants as guests for the first time. These are the Daurian or Isabelline Shri-ke, Temminck's Stint, Common Sandpiper and Wood Sandpiper. These birds, along with many other water-loving ones, are using the lavish pools, lakes and ponds at the safari. Wetland birds like herons, ducks, waders and local red-wattled lapwing and back-winged stilts are also enjoying the water bodies.

The conservation team also recorded over three dozen plant seed species, which must have come along the other imported or locally procured plants, or with the sand and soil brought from outside. These plants are adding beauty to several thousand already planted in the Safari.

Dr Khan noted three specimens of Daurian Shrike, a resident of Central Asia and parts of Europe. "The other three species called waders or shorebirds, usually breed in parts of Asia and Europe, even in areas like Siberia and Russia. These migrate from their breeding grounds to the Middle East and head to the coastal areas of the Red Sea and east coast of Africa during the three seasons. First, they come in autumn which is now, then in winter and again in spring."

Dr Khan notes that he has seen these birds comfortably eating insects and worms near the water and in hedges.

The Dubai government's efforts in greening the cities are definitely bearing fruits, attracting many birds to built-up areas like Dubai Safari and other parks, he said. "Some newly recorded 80 species of birds and nearly 35 species of plants prove that the Dubai Safari is the future for new bird species getting their suitable transit homes and permanent homes. Dubai Safari is paying a kind of dividend to the people by becoming an attractive site for birds and animals as well as plants," said Dr Khan.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Dec 18, 2017
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