Birds life on Socotra is as rich in mainland Yemen. Over 227 species can be found on the islands with ten known endemics. They are the Socotra Sparrow (Passer insluaris), Socotra sunbird (Nectarinia balfouri), Socotra warbler (Incana incana), the black Socotra starling with its orange under wing (Onychognathus frater), Socotra cisticola (Cisticola haesitatus) and Socotra bunting (Emberiza socotrana) with its black distinct –white head stripes. Local report include the Inner falcon (Falco biarmicus), Socotra buzzard (Buteo socotraensis) considered endemic in 2010 and the Socotran scops-owl (Otus senegalensis). Very present is the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus).
The island has an important breeding ground for many visiting birds. Among them is the masked booby (Sula dactylatra). This seabird is the largest booby with wingspans of up 152 cm. They can be distinguished by their black wingtips and characteristic mask. The brown booby (Sula leucogaster) also comes to Socotra for nesting. In contrast to the masked booby, the brown booby has rich brown plumage with a white underside. Other regulars on Socotra shores include the Birdled tern (Sterna anaethetus), the Persian shearwater (Puffinus persicus), and the Red-billed tropicbird (Phaeton aethereus). Visitors are quite likely to catch sight of the Socotra cormorant (Phalacrocorax nigrogularis), these large birds are almost black with slight white marking on the wings and eyes, and can have wingspan of up to 300cm.
For more information about Socotra birds see the book:
Birds of the middle East– by Richard Porter and Simon Aspina.