Five new species of bird have been classified after an annual Al Ain Zoo study that monitors migrating and resident birds.
More than 100 birds were identified in the survey, which looks at biodiversity and examines the zoo’s suitability for wildlife.
Migratory and local birds that leave Europe, Asia and Africa in the winter are regularly choosing to temporarily settle at the zoo thanks to the UAE's warmer climate, according to researchers.
The zoo says it also offers a safe habitat amid extinction threats migratory birds face around the world, incorporating suitable vegetation and manmade lakes to attract them.
“Some various species have been observed, some local, others habituated the area, but none are native,” said Hessa Ahmed Al Qahtani, unit head conservation programmes development at Al Ain Zoo. "Five new species have come to the zoo for the first time such as the greater whitethroat, Eurasian spoonbill, dunlin, Bonelli’s eagle and Eurasian nightjar."
The conservation team at Al Ain Zoo has been running the long-term wild bird study programme since 2017. The results are used by the International Bird Census, the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi and the eBird database to help contribute to bird conservation efforts in the UAE and around the world.
Al Ain Zoo
Founded in 1968 by the Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, the 400-hectare zoo at the foothills of Jebel Hafeet is home to more than 4,000 animals such as oryx, giraffe, Barbary sheep, rhinos, hippos, tigers and lions.
There’s also plenty to do on site, including a petting zoo for children. The Al Ain Safari is where visitors can encounter the "big five" — Africa's game animals the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo — from the safety of an SUV or safari truck. Emirati safari guides take the lead, giving more information about the animals and the surrounding landscape.
Al Ain Zoo also has a conservation and breeding programme.