As much as it’s a modern city, Dubai puts a lot of value in preserving its natural landscapes, especially since it’s part of the Palaearctic-Asian flyway.
Every year, millions of migratory birds seek refuge in Dubai’s mudflats and lagoons to escape the harsh winter and breed as part oftheir migration path.
The city has also created parks where people can get up close with a wide array of winged creatures and animals as part of its efforts to boost tourism.
So, if you’re a bird lover, make sure to check out these top parks and sanctuaries in Dubai where you can enjoy being with the most amazing bird species.
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
Address: Ras Al Khor Road – Ras Al Khor – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Contact details: +971 800 900
- October to March
- 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM Daily
- April to September
- 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM Daily
The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Dubai’s most precious nature reserves and one of only a few urban protected areas in the world today.
Covering more than 1,300 hectares of wetlands, the sanctuary is known as the “Cape of the Creek” because it’s part of the historic Dubai Creek.
Every year, Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary becomes home to thousands of birds, mammals and other animals, especially during winter where they seek refuge and even breed.
This is why the Dubai Municipality has taken great efforts to make sure that this sanctuary is protected and preserved, so that these birds can continue to migrate here.
You can find more than 47 flora and 470 fauna species at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary making it one of the biggest nature reserves in the UAE and an important part of the ecosystem.
Some of the most popular bird species that regularly visit or live in the sanctuary include Asian pied mynas, great egrets, and spotted eagles.
But the highlight of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary has to be the thousands of flamingos that flock to the wetlands every year.
On a good winter day, you will see a sea of pink on the wetlands with these beautiful birds enjoying their day out feeding on fish.
Aside from birds, the sanctuary is also home to unique mammal species like the Ferruginous Duck, Mozambique Tilapia and Ethiopian Hedgehog.
Winter is the best time to visit the sanctuary when thousands of birds are in the wetlands. Make sure to head early, so you can catch them feeding or going around the sanctuary.
Be mindful when visiting the sanctuary to avoid disturbing the birds in their natural habitat.
Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve
Address: Saih Al Salaam – Al Marmoom – Al Qudra – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Contact details: +971 4 606 6819
Operating hours: 24 hours daily
Another paradise for bird and animal lovers in Dubai is the massive Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve.
Located in Saih Al Salam near the Al Qudra Lakes, this is the first and largest unfenced nature conservation reserve in the country and home to the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.
The conservation reserve covers over 40 hectares of land and 10 kilometers of lakes where thousands of bird, animal and marine species can thrive in their natural environment.
It’s also the refuge of more than 158 species of migratory birds including 500 flamingoes from around the world during the winter season.
Some of the most popular bird species that you can find at the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve include grey francolins, house sparrows and European turtle doves, among others.
You can also find the Saruq Al Hadid archaeological site at the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve.
This 3,000-year old historical gem dates back to the Iron Age and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
You can also explore the Al Qudra Lakes where you’ll see the Love Lake and even go camping to really experience what this nature reserve has to offer.
Here, you can spend the night in the desert to see how these birds are when the sun sets and spot them in huge flocks as they get their day started in the morning.
To make the most of your experience, plan your trip ahead, so you can explore everything that this vast nature reserve has to offer. This includes the animal habitats, the lakes and the archaeological site.
You can look for tour packages that offer experiences at Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, especially if you’re travelling as a group.
If you want to go camping, bring all the gear and food that you need since the reserve is quite far from the city center and you won’t find any stores nearby.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR)
Address: Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Contact details: +971 50 907 0193
Operating hours: 24 hours Daily
Taking up more than 5% of Dubai’s total land area, the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is the country’s first national park and also one of its largest at 225 square kilometers.
Made up mostly of the vast desert land, the conservation reserve is home to hundreds of bird species including the UAE’s national bird, the great falcon.
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve also offers a wide range of desert activities including camel and horseback riding, trekking, desert safaris, sandboarding and the falcon experience.
You can even spend the night at one of the camps in the area to really get a feel of what it’s like to be in the desert and spend more time with the birds and animals in the area.
Some of the bird species that have been spotted in the conservation reserve include house sparrows, namaqua doves, and rock pigeons.
The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve is also home to one of Dubai’s endangered mammal species, the Arabian Oryx.
It’s best to book your trip with a professional tour guide to make the most of what the reserve has to offer and ensure your safety in exploring the desert.
The Grand Aviary at Dubai Safari Park
Address: Al Warqa 5 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Contact details: +971 800 900
Operating hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM – Daily
- AED 50 for adults
- AED 20 for children
- Free – Children under 3 and People of Determination
If you’d rather see the birds from inside a park, you can visit the biggest aviary in the country that’s home to hundreds of bird species from around the world.
The Dubai Safari Park has the Grand Aviary where you can get up close with species like the American White Pelican, the Red Billed Toucan, Canary and Australian Cockateil.
The massive aviary at the park’s African village is designed to mimic a natural forest with its own lake, so birds can feel right at home.
Of course, you also can’t miss exploring the rest of the 119-hectare Dubai Safari Park where you can see more than 3,000 animals from different parts of the world.
Book tickets to the Dubai Safari Park ahead of time to avoid the long queues, especially during the holidays and peak season.
Dress comfortably when exploring the park since you’ll do a lot of walking.
Be mindful when interacting with the animals, especially the birds to avoid stressing them out. Don’t make loud noises or attempt to get too close to them when inside the aviary.
Bird Encounter at The Green Planet
Address: City Walk – Al Wasl – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Contact details: +971 800 7699
Operating hours: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM – Daily
Price: AED 300 per person including entry ticket to The Green Planet
Green Planet Dubai is one of the city’s top nature attractions and one of the best places to experience a close bird encounter, especially if you’re travelling with kids.
For a separate fee, you can enjoy a 20-minute exclusive encounter with birds like Parrots, Caiques and Toucans every 11:30 AM daily.
This special experience allows you to touch them, learn about their species and take photos next to these beautiful creatures with the help of a professional trainer and biologist.
The Bird Encounter experience can accommodate up to 6 guests at one time and your ticket also gives you access to The Forest Floor, Flooded Rainforest, The Canopy, The Night and The Mid-Story.
You also get up to four hours free parking at the City Walk Underground Parking as part of your ticket privileges.
Aside from interacting with unique bird species, you also get to sit down with the park’s resident biologist where you can ask questions about these birds and the other animals in the park.
To make your experience more special, your encounter will be recorded on video and photos will be taken for you to purchase as souvenirs later on.
Green Planet Dubai also fofers a wide range of nature experiences including its massive bio-dome, a stunning indoor rainforest that makes you feel like you’re in the Amazon.
You can also experience encounters with anteaters, reptiles, sloths, armadillos and porcupines.
There’s a lot that you can do and experience at Green Planet Dubai, so make the most of your visit.
The Bird Encounter is only offered once daily, so slots are limited. If you want this experience, make sure to book a Bird Encounter Package ahead of time. You can also arrange for the Bird Encounter to be included in your tour package if you’re visiting with the group or travelling with an agency. This will ensure that you get a lot with the experience.