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Plants and Animals

Plants and Animals


Qatar's vegetation and animal life are both poor. This is due to the heat and the lack of water and vegetation. The only plant that is ubiquitous in Qatar is the date palm, Qatar's national tree for a reason. Besides the dates, the tree is also used for other purposes.

The University of Qatar studies local flora to see which plants are edible or used as medicine. There are already 300 species on the list, which often only flower after a heavy rain shower. The list includes "jaad" a type of mint,"ephedra" and gith-gath, which has a range of medicinal properties. The tastiest and also in the west most famous plant is the "fafafa", better known as the truffle.


Qatar has few native birds. The crested lark and the hoopoe are quite common. More interesting for bird watchers are the winter visitors that settle in Qatar, usually from March to May and from September to November. This generally concerns waterfowl and flamingos. The southeast coast is popular with spoonbills, ducks, swallows and swifts. The Hawar Islands, which have been part of Bahrain since 2001, are home to flamingos almost year round and have one of the largest colonies of cormorants in the world.

Lizards, desert hares and gerbils are common in the desert. The Arabian oryx, the national animal of Qatar, is being protected in nature reserves such as Al-Shahhainiya. Goats are protected on Halul Island and deer on Ras Ishairik Island. Well-known animals are, of course, donkeys and camels.

Typical desert animals are the common grasshopper, praying mantis, crickets and scorpions. Lizards, geckos, and skinks can also be found everywhere.

On the menu in restaurants and in people's homes is often the "hamour", collective name for a number of perch species.

The waters around Qatar are home to many species of fish, as well as turtles, rays, crabs, lobsters and whale sharks. Dangerous are sea snakes, jellyfish and scorpion fish. Occasionally manatees can be seen.

Qatar is also known for traditional hunting with hawks, falcons and peregrine falcons.


Robison, G. / Bahrain, Kuwait & Qatar
Lonely Planet

Whetter, L. / Live & work in Saudi & the Gulf
Vacation Work

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated May 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info