Egyptian vulture

Socotra Starling

Laughing Dove

Socotra bunting

Socotra Cisticola

Birds’ life on Socotra is as rich as mainland Yemen. Over 227 species can be found on the island with ten known kinds endemic. Socotra Sparrow (passer insluaris), Socotra Sunbird (nactarian balfouri), Socotra Warbler (incana incana), Black Socotra Starling (onychoganthus frater) with orange underwing, Socotra Cisticola (cisticola haesitita), and Socotra Bunting (emberiza socotrana) with black distinct –white head stripes The Egyptian vulture, the inner falcon (falcon bairmmiscus), the Socotra buzzard (buteo buteo), and two additional birds, the African scopes owl (Otus senegalensis), have all been reported locally (Neopheron percnopterus). For many visiting species, the island serves as an important breeding habitat. The disguised booby is one of them (sula dactylatra). With wingspans of up to 152cm, this seabird is the largest booby. Their black wingtips and distinctive masks help to identify them. Also nesting on Socotra is the brown booby (sula Leucogaster). The brown booby, unlike the masked booby, has a rich brown plumage with a white underside. The bird led tern (sterna anaethetus), Persian shearwater (puffinus persicu), and red-billed tropicbird are other common visitors to Socotra’s coastlines (Phaeton aethetus). The Socotra cormorant (Phalacrocorz nigrogularis) is a huge bird that may reach wingspans of up to 300cm and is almost black with minor white markings on the wings and eyes. For more information on Socotra birds, read Richard Porter and Simon Aspina’s book, Birds of the Middle East, which was released in August 2010.