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This world-famous ancient city, built 2000 years ago, is undoubtedly the greatest tourist attraction in Jordan and draws thousands of foreign visitors every year.
On the edge of the Wadi Araba, Petra is built in a deep canyon in rugged sandstone hills and entered through a narrow cleft in the rock. Despite the crowds there are exciting birds to be found in the quieter areas.
About 8km to the north are Beidha, an ancient village and Little Petra, a smaller version of Petra, both of great historical interest but with far fewer tourists. The birds here are similar to those of the main site but more numerous and rather easier to find.
Species difficult to see in the Western Palearctic such as Pale Crag Martin, Yellow-vented Bulbul and Orange-tufted Sunbird can be found here as well as typically desert birds such as White-tailed Wheatear and Mourning Wheatear, Temminck's Horned Lark, Arabian Babbler, Fan-tailed Raven and Tristram's Grackle.
However, the species this site is most famous for is Sinai Rosefinch which is fairly common and often seen drinking at the spring at Qattar ad Dayr. Desert Owl also occurs here but requires a dusk visit. Syrian Serin is possible in winter.
Birds you can see here include:
European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Levant Sparrowhawk, Steppe Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Bonelli's Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Sooty Falcon, Barbary Falcon, Chukar Partridge, Sand Partridge, Rock Dove, European Turtle Dove, Laughing Dove, Eurasian Scops Owl, Little Owl, Desert Owl, Pallid Swift, Common Swift, Alpine Swift, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Hoopoe, Desert Lark, Crested Lark, Temminck's Horned Lark, African Rock Martin, Long-billed Pipit, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Rufous Scrub Robin, Black Redstart, Blackstart, Mourning Wheatear, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, Blue Rock Thrush, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Streaked Scrub Warbler, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Arabian Babbler, Great Tit, Palestine Sunbird, Great Grey Shrike, Fan-tailed Raven, Tristram's Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Rock Sparrow, Chaffinch, Syrian Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Trumpeter Finch, Sinai Rosefinch, Striolated Bunting
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
Easily reached by road from Amman or Aqaba, the journey takes about three hours on the Desert Highway and once there, accommodation ranges from primitive Bedouin caves to luxury hotel.
Petra can be thronged with tourists but the quietest times are usually early morning and late afternoon, also the best time for birds.
Content and images originally posted by Steve