Birding in Mod'in
Graceful warbler

Birds in the Modi'in area

Living in an urban area surrounded by countryside we see an interesting mix of local birds, whether on our balcony, in the surrounding gardens and parks, in neighbouring villages or on our walks in nearby fields and nature areas. This page is based on what we've learnt from our local observations. On the next page you'll find an a basic overview of some of our most common local birds and where to find them.

The Modi'in area is still an interesting area for birds even if it isn't quite Eilat or the Hula Valley. During the spring and summer migrations in particular we do get quite a large number of raptors passing through, as well as large flocks of storks, pelicans and cranes who come to this area to catch the thermals that will carry them on their way.

Since I moved to Modi'in in the December 1998 the area has gone through some drastic changes, and the bird population has likewise changed somewhat. The town of Modi'in has developed rapidly, growing from around 15,000 residents when we moved in, to closer to 60,000 at the time of writing. The fast growth of the city has meant that large swathes of countryside have been covered in concrete, yet at the same time many parks and gardens have been planted, balconies overflow with flowers, trees have matured and the town itself now contains many bird-friendly zones. A landscaped recreation area including wooded walking trails and a large pond is planned too.

White breasted kingfisher
Smyrna (white breasted) kingfisher

We recently moved to a new flat in Modi'in, close to parks and right above a lush garden whose mature fruit trees are just an arm's length away from our windows, while our balcony overlooks our neighbour's flower covered trellis. When I saw this little green oasis and heard its wealth of birdsong I knew that this was the apartment for me. Lately I haven't had much time for going out "into the field", but I had some pretty satisfactory birding from the comfort of my own home.

Many mornings I wake up around dawn to the rambunctious voice of a Smyrna kingfisher which frequents a tree close to my bedroom window. No, there is no water in the area, but don't be fooled by the name, it's just as happy wolfing down some hapless lizard.

By morning the chattering, burbling, bulbuls are busy attacking the fruit trees, there is usually something in season - citrus, mulberries, almonds and a couple of trees with berry like fruits I don't recognise. Sunbirds are zipping around the bright flowers, clicking their mechanical sounding call or bursting into sweet song. Small flocks of goldfinches or greenfinches are also regulars, as well as graceful warblers, Eurasian jays, house sparrows, great tits and palm doves. A pair of kestrels patrols the skies, having taken up residence at the top of a nearby high rise.


Dusk is heralded by the sweet song of a blackbird which likes the tree just beyond the balcony. Often we go to sleep with the poignant mewing of the neighbourhood little owl.

Of course these are just the basic regulars, with the seasons you never know what you might find visiting the garden, park or balcony. For much of this spring a flock of blackcaps took full advantage of the ripe mulberries outside my study. It was noisy, but fun to be able to watch them up close, only a few centimetres from the window. Every so often assorted other warblers on joined them, fan-tailed, Sardinian, whitethroats and more. During winter I often noticed a chiffchaff in the bare tree or nearby fence, as well as the occasional stonechat, redstart or black redstart. A week ago I noticed masked and woodchat shrikes and a black-eared wheatear in the park across the road.

List of Modi'in area birds

Here is a more complete list of birds we've seen in the Modi'in area, with contributions from Robert Broch, a visiting birder from Leeds:


  • Barn Owl Tyto alba
  • Blackbird Turdus merula
  • Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
  • Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
  • Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
  • Chukar Alectoris chukar
  • Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
  • Corn Bunting Miliaria calandra
  • Crested Lark Galerida cristata
  • Fan-tailed warbler (Zitting Cisticola) Cisticola juncidis
  • Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
  • Graceful Warbler Prinia gracillis
  • Great Tit Parus major
  • Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
  • Hooded Crow Corvus corone
  • Hoopoe Upupa epops
  • House Sparrow Passer domesticus
  • Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
  • Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor
  • Linnet Carduelis cannabina
  • Little Egret Egretta garzetta
  • Little Owl Athene noctua
  • Palestine Sunbird Nectarinia osea
  • Palm Dove (Laughing Dove) Streptopelia senegalensis
  • Rock dove Columba livia
  • Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala
  • Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicinemus
  • Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopus syriacus
  • Spur Winged Plover Hoplopterus spinosus
  • White Throated (Smyrna) Kingfisher Halcyon Smyrnensis
  • Yellow Vented Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos


  • Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
  • Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
  • Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
  • Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus
  • Lesser Spotted EagleAquila pomarina
  • Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
  • Pallid HarrierCircus macrourus
  • Quail Coturnix coturnix
  • Steppe Buzzard Buteo vulpinus
  • White Stork Ciconia ciconia
  • Whitethroat Sylvia communis


  • Black Kite Milvus migrans
  • Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
  • Buzzard Buteo buteo
  • Hen HarrierCircus cyaneus
  • Long Legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus


  • Black redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
  • Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
  • Chiffchaff Phyllosocpus collybita
  • Coot Fulica atra
  • Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca
  • Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii
  • Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
  • Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
  • Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca
  • Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
  • Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
  • Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
  • Pied (White) Wagtail Motacilla alba
  • Robin Erithacus rubecula
  • Skylark Alauda arvensis
  • Shoveler Anas clypeata
  • Spanish sparrow passer hispanicus
  • Stonechat Saxicola torquata
  • Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta


  • Nightingale? Nightingale Thrush?
  • Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
  • White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus


  • Alpine Swift Apus melba
  • Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
  • Black Eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica
  • European bee-eater Merops apiaster
  • Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
  • Hobby Falco subbuteo
  • House Martin Delichon urbica
  • Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus
  • Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
  • Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis
  • Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana
  • Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica
  • Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
  • Swift Apus apus
  • Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
  • Turtle dove Streptopelia turtur
  • Whitethroat Sylvia communis
  • Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator

Birding intro | Biblical birds | Birdwatching links
Golan and Galilee | Dead Sea and Ein Gedi | Eilat and Negev
Jerusalem area | Mediterranean coast | Modiin area

Copyright 2004 by Leiah Elbaum. Text and illustrations on this page are by Leiah Elbaum. Last updated 17 August 2004.

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