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  • Photograph of Grey Hypocolius

    The unique Grey Hypocolius by Lars Petersson.

    OMAN

    Best Wildlife in Oman

    Mammals
    (Long-beaked) Common, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose and Spinner Dolphins. Also a chance of Humpback and Bryde’s Whales, and Ruppell's Fox.

    Birds

    These lists are for late October-early November.

    Specialities
    Arabian and Sand Partridges, Jouanin's Petrel, Persian Shearwater, Socotra Cormorant, Sooty Falcon, Forbes-Watson’s Swift, Arabian, Menetries’s and Plain Leaf Warblers, Arabian, Hume’s, Rufous-tailed (Persian) and Variable Wheatears, Blackstart, Arabian Babbler, Tristram’s Starling, Palestine Sunbird and Yemen Serin. Also a chance of Crowned and Spotted Sandgrouse, Hume’s Owl, Omani Owl (Al Hajar Mountains), Pallid Scops Owl, Nile Valley Sunbird and Grey Hypocolius, and an outside chance of (Arabian) Golden-winged Grosbeak.

    Others
    Greater Flamingo, Red-billed Tropicbird, Lappet-faced Vulture, (Eastern) Imperial, Greater Spotted, Steppe and Verreaux’s Eagles, and Crab Plover, as well as Grey Francolin, Masked Booby, Western Reef Egret, Indian Pond and Squacco Herons, Yellow Bittern, Eurasian Spoonbill, White Stork, Osprey, Bonelli’s and Short-toed Eagles, Barbary Falcon, Baillon’s and Little Crakes, Red-wattled and White-tailed Lapwings, Black-winged Stilt, Pin-tailed Snipe, Great Knot, Broad-billed and Terek Sandpipers, Red-necked Phalarope, Great Black-headed and Sooty Gulls, Bridled, Caspian, Greater Crested, Lesser Crested, Saunders’s and White-cheeked Terns, Chestnut-bellied and Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouses, Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Laughing Dove, Forbes-Watson’s Swift, Collared (kalbaensis) and Grey-headed Kingfishers, Blue-cheeked and Little Green Bee-eaters, European and Indian Rollers, Hoopoe, Black-crowned Tchagra, African Paradise Flycatcher, Brown-necked and Fan-tailed Ravens, Desert and (Greater) Hoopoe Larks, Black-crowned Sparrow Lark, Pale Crag Martin, White-spectacled Bulbul, Graceful Prinia, Scrub, Clamorous Reed, (Asian) Desert and Sykes’s Warblers, Isabelline and Desert Wheatears, Blue Rock Thrush, Abyssinian (White-breasted) White-eye, Purple and Shining Sunbirds, Long-billed Pipit, wagtails including Black-headed (feldegg), Cinnamon-breasted Bunting, Rüppell’s Weaver, and African and Indian Silverbills. Also a chance of Flesh-footed Shearwater, Brown Booby, Egyptian Vulture, Long-legged Buzzard, Saker Falcon, Spotted Thick-knee, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Cream-coloured Courser, Brown Noddy, Namaqua Dove, Bimaculated Lark and Striolated Bunting.

    Reptiles
    Five species of turtle occur in Oman waters but the most likely ones to be seen are Green and Hawksbill Turtles, and these can be seen on their nesting beaches at Ras Al Hadd/Ras Al Jinz where there is a Scientific and Visitors Centre, complete with accommodation. The best times of the year are March-April for seeing Hawksbill hatchlings and June-August to see Green Turtles laying eggs.

    Fish
    Oman’s waters support rich coral reefs and plankton blooms attract Whale Sharks between June and October, especially in the Daymaniyat and Musandam Islands.

    Other Natural Wonders in Oman

    Tawi Attair, Dhofar
    The world’s second-largest sinkhole, which is 130-150 m (430-500 ft) across and 210 m (690 ft) deep. It also happens to be the only site in Oman for Yemen Serin.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Oman

    Best Times for Wildlife in Oman

    Summer temperatures in the interior desert can reach 130°F (54°C) so the best time to visit is between October and April when temperatures and humidity are lower, especially November to February for birds, although Sooty Falcons are usually only present until the end of October-early November during this period. The best time of year for seeing turtles laying their eggs on the beaches is July to September. Rainfall is usually irregular and light except in Dhofar Province in the southwest which lies within the reach of the Indian Ocean monsoon between June and September.

    Recommended Books etc. for Oman

    Helm Field Guide: Birds of the Middle East by R Porter and S Aspinall. Helm, 2010 (Second Edition).

    Collins Bird Guide by L Svensson et al. Collins, 2010 (Second Edition).

    Birds of Europe by L Jonsson. Helm, 1999.

    Birdwatching Guide to Oman by D Sargeant, and H & J Eriksen. Al Roya, 2008 (Second Edition).

    Mammals of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East by S Aulagnier et al. Helm, 2009.

    Mammals of Britain and Europe by D McDonald and P Barrett. Collins, 2005.


    Apps etc.

    eGuide to Birds of the Middle East.

    Collins Bird Guide.

    Where to watch birds in Asia by N Wheatley. Helm, 1996.

    Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in the Middle East and Asia? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Oman

    Many trip reports, some for Oman, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Oman. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Oman' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Oman

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Oman

    Some Organized Tours to Oman

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and they are popular with people with partners with different interests. Individuals, partners and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more for a custom tour than an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours to Oman include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.