Several years' observations at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba are summarized. Migrants occur the whole year round, but most numerously in March-April and September. Only a few of the 185 species recorded pass the winter at Elat. About 25 species are recorded more in autumn, whereas about 50 species are commoner in spring. The causes of these disparities are discussed. Thousands of soaring raptors pass through, mainly in spring. In spring only, thousands of Lesser Black-backed Gulls stream through Elat, and many rest there for a short period. Mass migration of storks occurs too, more conspicuously in spring than autumn. An attempt is made to construct the routes of these birds between Eurasia and Africa, by analysing published sight records of raptors and storks and ringing recoveries of gulls. It is suggested that many of these birds move in autumn on a wide front, which may include Arabia, but that the core of the spring passage is shifted westward and part of it is channelled through the Rift Valley north of the northern end of the Red Sea and in the areas between the rift and the Mediterranean (Fig. 4). Supporting evidence is still needed from Arabia and the coasts of the Red Sea, especially from its southern end, where birds may be concentrated at the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, as they are over the Bosphorus. Pelicans and a few other species perform very late southerly movements. These movements involve small numbers of birds, which may belong to late-breeding populations.
About 45 other species of water and shore birds have been recorded, many of which occur in winter. With the expansion of areas of artificial water, some of them have become very common.
About 75 passerines, near-passerines and other migrants pass through. The numbers involved suggest that the movement is on a broad front. Out of about 50 species whose passage is adequately recorded for seasonal comparison, 30 are more common in spring. Most of these are also commoner in other eastern Mediterranean countries and in Iraq in spring, md are presumed to perform a continuous overhead flight in autumn. Cases of “loop-migration” among these species are rare.