[Oversea] Binoculars and Bodyguards - Looking for Iraq's Birds

Binoculars and Bodyguards - Looking for Iraq's Birds

News from BirdLife International

Binoculars and Bodyguards - Looking for Iraq's Birds

In recent years, many people have been struggling to survive in Iraq. Even now the country's far from safe. However, since 2005 Nature Iraq (BirdLife Partner) staff have been doggedly surveying the rich biodiversity found within their country, taking them to some of the most dangerous spots in search of elusive species like Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius.

"We received fresh sightings and GPS co-ordinates which indicated a Sociable Lapwing was sitting in an area near Haditha which is an extremely dangerous place", said Nature Iraq's Omar Fadil.

Omar is part of a team from Nature Iraq who conduct annual winter surveys of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) across the country. "It took us about 6 hours to drive from our base in Tikrit to where the bird was sitting".

In order to visit the area safely, Omar convinced a group of Iraqi army bodyguards to join his quest. "I was impressed that the Iraqi army understood what we were doing, and supplied me with three patrols with five armed soldiers in each of them. All of us were looking for the Sociable Lapwing, which was an amazing experience".

Sadly, despite their best efforts, the team could not locate the bird. "However, we now have a better understanding of the habitat, the feeding resource and the migratory places that the lapwing are looking for in Iraq". ... ng-Iraqs-Birds.html