WanderlustA birdwatcher's guide to Kuwait

Discover a striking array of avian wildlife nesting in the Mesopotamian Delta

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A vast expanse of marshy, muddy islands and tidal channels, the Mesopotamian Delta is an important ecosystem that supports all sorts of avian life. Situated between mainland Kuwait, Iraq and Iran, the islands here attract keen birders from all over the world, who ‘flock’ to the area each year to see stunning migratory and water birds. The largest of the islands is Bubiyan, located to the north-west of the Shatt Al-Arab channel, at the mouth of the Arabian Gulf. Within easy reach of Kuwait City, Bubiyan Island is the perfect day trip for nature-minded travellers.

 

Which birds can you see on Bubiyan Island?

As with all of the islands in this area (aside from Failaka Island), Bubiyan is uninhabited. Designated as a Wetland of International Importance, the island lies at the intersection of a major migratory bird route, making it the perfect breeding and feeding spot for a wide variety of species. Low, flat and filled with salt marshes and swampland, it is not the easiest terrain to explore, but intrepid bird watchers will be rewarded with sightings of some of the world’s most important migratory birds, many of which are endangered. Depending on the time of year, you can expect to see species including Caspian Terns, Gull-billed Terns, Swift Terns, Lesser Crested Terns, Western Reef Herons, Grey Herons, Eurasian Spoonbills, Kentish Plovers, Egrets and Slender-billed Gulls. Bubiyan Island is also home to one of the world’s largest colonies of Crab-plovers, which congregate here during the summer breeding season.

 

The best time to visit

Bird watchers can expect to see a diverse assortment of birds here year-round, though there are undoubtedly some months that are better than others to plan your visit. The peak summer months of June-August can be a little too hot for birding expeditions, but you can still visit during the earlier part of the breeding season, from April-May. The winter months from September-May provide good conditions for bird watching, but the spring migration from March-May is an exceptional time to visit. With many important migratory species stopping here on their journey, you can expect to see some uncommon and unusual birds.

 

How to get there

Linked to the mainland by a bridge, Bubiyan Island is just an hour’s drive from Kuwait City. However, as it’s part of a protected conservation area, it may be necessary to obtain permits before visiting. The most sensible option is to join an organised tour, which will take you to all of the best bird watching sites, as well as arrange permits and transport. Our concierge team at Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa will be more than happy to arrange this for you upon request.

#LiveTheMoment with Jumeirah and stay at Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa to experience the natural wonders of Kuwait. Just an hour’s drive from Kuwait City, Bubiyan Island is an ecological spectacle just waiting to be discovered.