TRISTRAM STARLING -THE BIRD THAT FLIRTS!

The Tristram Starling or Grackle is native to the Middle East. Its migratory route brings it to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and one cannot miss its arrival ....


Israel is well known for its bird migration.  Millions migrate via Israel bi-annually making it one of the world's busiest and most impressive flypasses.  One of the main attractions for these feathered creatures is Israel's varied habitats which creates a rich biodiversity all year round.

The southern region of the country is of particular interest to ornathologists, and particularly the Dead Sea area.  The lowest place on earth and its surrounding Judean Desert provides crags, lush oases and unique vegetation for the birds.  There are various species that visit throughout the year amongst them Dead Sea sparrows, Arabian babblers, sand partridges, desert larks and many many more.

One of the most typical birds of the region is Tristram's Grackle or Starling, a bird that can be seen throughout the Dead Sea, whizzing past in a flash of colour - due to its orangey red  and black attire - or perhaps perched on the trees and rocks.  The Tristram has a particularly noticeable call that sounds a little like a 'wolf whistle', and it can be heard around the desert and particularly in the Botanical Gardens of Kibbutz Ein Gedi or the David Nature Reserve also located at Ein Gedi.  

Ein Gedi is an oasis where natural springs, Dead Sea, sulphur pools combine together to create an interesting blend of semi-tropical and waterside vegetation which not only attracts the desert birds but kingfishers, sunbirds, bulbuls and bush robins.  The little green bee-eater is also a frequent visitor to the area and can be seen in the nature reserve perching on branches dangling over the stream trying to catch flying insects. 

Photos courtesy of Avishag Ayalon

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