United Arab Emirates

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Posted by r2d2 02/25/2009 @ 16:34

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United Arab Emirates

Location of United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Arabic: دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة‎, transliteration: Dawlat al-Imārāt al-‘Arabīyah al-Muttaḥidah) is a federation of seven states situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The seven states, termed emirates, are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain.

The UAE, rich in oil and natural gas, has become highly prosperous after gaining foreign direct investment funding in the 1970s. The country has a relatively high Human Development Index for the Asian continent, ranking 31st globally, and had a GDP purchasing power parity of $200.5 billion in 2009 according to the IMF.

Before 1971, the UAE were known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference to a nineteenth-century truce between Britain and several Arab Sheikhs. The name Pirate Coast was also used in reference to the area's emirates in the 18th to early 20th century.

The United Arab Emirates was originally formed from tribally-organized Arabian Peninsula sheikhdoms along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf and the northwestern coast of the Gulf of Oman. It had been part of Oman and was then called Oman's Gulf. The UAE was established in 1971 when the emirates bonded together and became one united country. It has since evolved into a modern, high-income nation.

Portuguese expansion into the Indian Ocean in the early sixteenth century following Vasco da Gama's route of exploration saw them battle the Ottomans up the coast of the Persian Gulf. The Portuguese controlled the area for 150 years in which they conquered the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula. It is noteworthy to mention that Vasco da Gama was helped by Ibn Majid, an Arab from Julphar (now known as Ras Al Khaimah, one of the UAE emirates), to find the route of spices.

Then, portions of the nation came under the direct influence of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. Thereafter the region was known to the British as the "Pirate Coast", as raiders based there harassed the shipping industry despite both European and Arab navies patrolling the area from the 17th century into the 19th century. British expeditions to protect the Indian trade from raiders at Ras al-Khaimah led to campaigns against that headquarters and other harbours along the coast in 1819. The next year, a peace treaty was signed to which all the sheikhs of the coast adhered. Raids continued intermittently until 1835, when the sheikhs agreed not to engage in hostilities at sea. In 1853, they signed a treaty with the United Kingdom, under which the sheikhs (the "Trucial Sheikhdoms") agreed to a "perpetual maritime truce." It was enforced by the United Kingdom, and disputes among sheikhs were referred to the British for settlement.

Primarily in reaction to the ambitions of other European countries, the United Kingdom and the Trucial Sheikhdoms established closer bonds in an 1892 treaty, similar to treaties entered into by the UK with other Persian Gulf principalities. The sheikhs agreed not to dispose of any territory except to the United Kingdom and not to enter into relationships with any foreign government other than the United Kingdom without its consent. In return, the British promised to protect the Trucial Coast from all aggression by sea and to help in case of land attack.

In 1955, the United Kingdom sided with Abu Dhabi in the latter's dispute with Oman over the Buraimi Oasis another territory to the south. A 1974 agreement between Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia would have settled the Abu Dhabi-Saudi border dispute; however, the agreement has yet to be ratified by the UAE government and is not recognised by the Saudi government. The border with Oman also remains officially unsettled, but the two governments agreed to delineate the border in May 1999.

In the early 1960s, oil was discovered in Abu Dhabi, an event that led to quick unification calls made by UAE sheikdoms. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan became ruler of Abu Dhabi in 1966 and the British started losing their oil investments and contracts to U.S. oil companies.

The British had earlier started a development office that helped in some small developments in the Emirates. The sheikhs of the Emirates then decided to form a council to coordinate matters between them and took over the development office. They formed the Trucial States Council, and appointed Adi Bitar, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum's legal advisor, as Secretary General and Legal Advisor to the Council. The Council was terminated once the United Arab Emirates was formed.

In 1968, the United Kingdom announced its decision, reaffirmed in March 1971, to end the treaty relationships with the seven Trucial Sheikhdoms which had been, together with Bahrain and Qatar, under British protection. The nine attempted to form a union of Arab Emirates, but by mid-1971 they were still unable to agree on terms of union, even though the British treaty relationship was to expire in December of that year.

Bahrain became independent in August and Qatar in September 1971. When the British-Trucial Shaikhdoms treaty expired on December 1, 1971, they became fully independent.

The rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai decided to form a union between their two emirates independently, prepare a constitution, then call the rulers of the other five emirates to a meeting and offer them the opportunity to join. It was also agreed between the two that Adi Bitar write the constitution by December 2, 1971.

On that date, at the Dubai Guesthouse Palace, four other emirates agreed to enter into a union called the United Arab Emirates. Ras al-Khaimah joined later, in early 1972.

The UAE sent forces into Kuwait during the 1990–91 Persian Gulf War.

The UAE supports military operations from the United States and other Coalition nations that are engaged in the invasions of Iraq (2003) and Afghanistan (2001) as well as Operations supporting the Global War on Terrorism for the Horn of Africa at the Al Dhafra Air Base located outside of Abu Dhabi. The air base also supported Allied operations during the 1991 Persian Gulf War and Operation Northern Watch.

On November 2, 2004, the UAE's first president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, died. His eldest son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, succeeded as ruler of Abu Dhabi. In accordance with the constitution, the UAE's Supreme Council of Rulers elected Khalifa as president. Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan succeeded Khalifa as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

The United Arab Emirates is located on the Southeast of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering mainly the Persian Gulf and partially the Gulf of Oman, as well as the countries of Oman and Saudi Arabia. The country’s north-easternmost tip is an enclave belonging to Oman and forms the strategically located Strait of Hormuz, a vital passage for much of the world’s crude oil. UAE’s total area is approximately 77,700 square kilometers with 1,318 km of coastline. However, its exact size is indeterminable as much of the border area with Saudi Arabia lies on the Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter) desert and remains undemarcated. Additionally, island disputes with Iran and Qatar remain unresolved.

The UAE is comprised of seven emirates of which Abu Dhabi is the largest accounting for 87 percent of total area and the smallest is Ajman at only 259 square kilometers. Its lowest point likes at the Persian Gulf (0m) and the highest point is an unnamed knoll across the border from Jebel Bil Ays in Oman reaching 1910m.

There are two areas under joint control. One is jointly controlled by Oman and Ajman, the other by Fujairah and Sharjah.

There is an Omani enclave surrounded by UAE territory, known as Wadi Madha. It is located halfway between the Musandam peninsula and the rest of Oman, on the Dubai-Hatta road in the Emirate of Sharjah. It covers approximately 75 square kilometres (29 sq mi) and the boundary was settled in 1589. The north-east corner of Madha is closest to the Khor Fakkan-Fujairah road, barely 10 metres (33 ft) away. Within the enclave is a UAE exclave called Nahwa, also belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah (formely known as Bhubi Dhubhi). It is about 8 kilometres (5 mi) on a dirt track west of the town of New Madha. It consists of about forty houses with its own clinic and telephone exchange.

The UAE’s political and governmental structure is composed within a framework of a federal presidential elected monarchy and composed of a federation of the seven Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Umm al Qaiwain.

The Presidency and Premiership of the United Arab Emirates is de facto hereditary to the Al Nahyan clan of Abu Dhabi and the Al Maktoum clan of Dubai. The President of the United Arab Emirates and the head of state is the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, is the ruler of Dubai and the head of government. The political influences and financial obligations of the Emirates are reflected by respective positions in the Federal government. While each Emirate still retains autonomy over own territory, a percentage of its revenue is allocated to the UAE’s central budget.

The federal system includes the executive branch which consists of the President, Vice President, the Federal Supreme Council (comprised of the Emirates’ seven rulers), and a Cabinet, or Council of Ministers. The legislative branch consists of a parliamentary body, the Federal National Council. A constitutionally independent judiciary includes the Federal Supreme Court.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the union's president from the nation's founding until his death on November 2, 2004. The Federal Supreme Council elected his son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president the next day. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the heir apparent.

The Supreme Council elects the Council of Ministers, while an appointed/elected forty-member Federal National Council, drawn from all the emirates, reviews proposed laws. The UAE’s parliamentary body represents the Emirates, and is half appointed by the rulers of the constituent states and the other half elected indirectly to serve two-year terms. The council carries out the country’s main consultative duties and has both a legislative and supervisory role provided by the Constitution.

There is a federal court system; all emirates except Ras al-Khaimah have joined the federal system; all emirates have both secular and Islamic law for civil, criminal, and high courts.

The UAE took its first steps towards indirect elections for the country’s parliament on National Day, December 2, 2005 upon the official announcement by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan which followed the formation of an Electoral College. A National Electoral Committee was created and the UAE’s first election occurred during mid-December 2006. The election and appointment of nine women (comprising 22.5 per cent of the Council) strongly signified advancement and political participation of women in the United Arab Emirates. The long-term objective is for the FNC to be wholly-elected.

The UAE’s liberal climate towards foreign cooperation, investment and modernization has prompted extensive diplomatic and commercial relations with other countries. It plays a significant role in OPEC, the UN and is one of the founding members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Regionally, the Emirates have long maintained close relations with Egypt and remain the highest investors in the country from among the rest of the Arab world. Pakistan has also been a major recipient of economic aid and relations have been extremely close since the founding of the federation. Pakistan had been first to formally recognize the UAE upon its formation and continues to be one of its major economic and trading partners with about 400,000 expatriates receiving employment in the UAE. India’s large expat community in the UAE also has for centuries evolved into current close political, economic and cultural ties. However, the largest demographic presence in the Emirates is Iranian. Like most countries in the region, the UAE and Iran dispute rights to a number of islands in the Persian Gulf but this has not significantly impacted relations due to the large Iranian community presence and strong economic ties.

Following the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait, the UAE has maintained extensive relations with its Western allies for security and cooperation towards increasing interoperability of its defense forces. France and the US have played the most strategically significant roles with defense cooperation agreements and military material provision. Most recently, these relations culminated in a joint nuclear deal for the US to supply the UAE with nuclear technology, expertise and fuel. Commercially, the UK and Germany are the UAE’s largest export markets and bi-lateral relations have long been close as a large number of their nationals reside in the UAE.

The UAE population has an unnatural sex distribution consisting of more than twice as many males as females. The 15-65 age group has a male(s)/female sex ratio of 2.743. UAE's gender imbalance is the highest among any nation in the world followed by Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia - all of which together comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC states are also what most South and Southeast Asians refer to as the Persian Gulf especially in context of emigration.

UAE has one of the most diverse populations in the Middle East. 19% of the population is Emirati, and 23% is other Arabs and Persians. An estimated 74% of the population is comprised of non-citizens, one of the world's highest percentages of foreign-born in any nation. In addition, since the mid-1980s, people from all across South Asia have settled in the UAE. The high living standards and economic opportunities in the UAE are better than almost anywhere else in the Middle East and South Asia. This makes the nation an attractive destination for Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis, Afghans and Bangladeshis along with a few thousand Sri Lankans. In 2007, there were approximately 1.4 million Indian nationals, half of whom came from Kerala, making them the single largest expatriate community in the oil-rich nation. Persons from over twenty Arab nationalities, including thousands of Palestinians who came as either political refugees or migrant workers, also live in the United Arab Emirates. There is also a sizable number of Emiratis from other Arab League nations who have come before the formation of the Emirates such as Egyptians, Somalis, Sudanese and other Persian Gulf Arab states, who have adopted the native culture and customs. Further, Somali immigration also continued in the 1990s as a result of the Somali civil war.

There are also residents from other parts of the Middle East, Baluchistan region of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, Post-Soviet states, and North America. The UAE has attracted a small number of very affluent expatriates (Americans, British, Canadians, Japanese and Australians) from developed countries. Recent migrants from India are also quite affluent. They are attracted to a very warm climate, scenic views (beaches, golf courses, man-made islands and lucrative housing tracts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai), the nation's comparably low cost of living (but in 2006, thousands of real estate properties are valued over millions of dollars) and tax-free incentives for their business or residency in the UAE. They make up under 5% of the UAE population; mainly English-speaking. Expatriates abide by the law and are required to respect the customs of the UAE.

The most populated city is Dubai, with approximately 1.6 million people. Other major cities include Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah, and Fujairah. About 88% of the population of the United Arab Emirates is urban. The remaining inhabitants live in tiny towns scattered throughout the country or in one of the many desert oilfield camps in the nation.

Islam is the largest religion in the United Arab Emirates with approximately 96% of the population adhering to Islam(noted by CIA World Fact Book). It is a number which has been condensed by large scale immigration from the West and South East Asia.

Christians, most of whom are Roman Catholic, are the next biggest population. Many of the Christians are of Filipino, Indian, Lebanese and European background. There are approximately 31 churches throughout the country. Hinduism is also present in the country through immigration from South Asia. There is a Hindu temple.

Although it is legal to follow these faiths, it is illegal in the UAE to spread the ideas of these religions through any form of media as it is a form of proselytizing. In fact even the sign of the cross is not allowed to be displayed on the exterior of churches within the UAE.

The UAE provides for complete freedom of religion and this is something which is largely respected and employed. However non-Islamic proselytizing is considered illegal. Prisoners who convert to Islam and can recite verses from the Quran can at times have sentences reduced.

The United Arab Emirates has a rapidly growing economy with a high GDP per capita and energy consumption per capita.

The GDP per capita is currently the 14th in the world and 3rd in the Middle East after Qatar and Kuwait as measured by the CIA World Factbook, or the 17th in the world as measured by the International Monetary Fund; while at $168 billion in 2006, with a small population of 4 million, the GDP of the UAE ranks second in the CCASG (after Saudi Arabia), third in the Middle East — North Africa (MENA) region (after Saudi Arabia and Iran), and 38th in the world (ahead of Malaysia).

There are various deviating estimates regarding the actual growth rate of the nation’s GDP. However, all available statistics indicate that the UAE currently has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. According to a recent report by the Ministry of Finance and Industry, real GDP rose by 35% in 2006 to $175 billion, compared with $130 billion in 2005. These figures would suggest that the UAE had the fastest growing real GDP in the world, between 2005 and 2006.

Although the United Arab Emirates is becoming less dependent on natural resources as a source of revenue, petroleum and natural gas exports still play an important role in the economy, especially in Abu Dhabi. A massive construction boom, an expanding manufacturing base, and a thriving services sector are helping the UAE diversify its economy. Nationwide, there is currently $350 billion worth of active construction projects. Such projects include the Burj Dubai, which is slated to become the world's tallest building, Dubai World Central International Airport which, when completed, will be the most expensive airport ever built, and the three Palm Islands, the largest artificial islands in the world. Other projects include the Dubai Mall which will become the world's largest shopping mall when completed, and a man-made archipelago called The World which seeks to increase Dubai's rapidly growing tourism industry. Also in the entertainment sector is the construction of Dubailand, which is expected to be twice the size of Disney World, and of Dubai Sports City which will not only provide homes for local sports teams but may be part of future Olympic bids.

The currency of the United Arab Emirates is the Emirati Dirham.

The education system through secondary level is monitored by the Ministry of Education. It consists of primary schools, middle schools and secondary schools. The public schools are government-funded and the curriculum is created to match the United Arab Emirates development's goals and values. The medium of instruction in the public school is Arabic with emphasis on English as a second language. There are also many private schools which are internationally accredited. Public schools in the country are free for citizens of the UAE, while the fees for private schools vary.

The higher education system is monitored by the Ministry of Higher Education to serve and protect children's education. The Ministry also is responsible for admitting students to its undergraduate institutions, including the five largest centers of higher education: United Arab Emirates University, Zayed University, Gulf Medical College and Higher Colleges of Technology. There are also many other private universities and colleges in the country, including the University of Sharjah, American University of Sharjah, Institute of Management Technology Dubai, S.P Jain Center of Management in Dubai, Al Ain University of Science and Technology, the American University of Dubai, Abu Dhabi University and Ras Al Khamiah University for medical and health sciences. Finally, other universities based in foreign countries have established campuses in the United Arab Emirates. For instance, there is a Paris-Sorbonne campus in Abu Dhabi. In addition, the presence of the world-renowned institute BITS,Pilani has taken Dubai to new educational heights.

The UAE has shown a strong interest in improving education and research. Enterprises include the establishment of the CERT Research Centers and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

Migrants, mostly of south Asian origin, constitute 95% of the UAE’s workforce and are subject to a range of human rights abuses. Workers typically arrive in debt to recruitment agents from home countries and upon arrival are often made to sign a new contract in English or Arabic which pays them less than had originally been agreed. Visa and travel costs are typically added on to the original debt, and thus within hours of their arrival, workers often find that their debt-repayment time has increased significantly, possibly by years.

Confiscation of passports is officially illegal, but in reality employers have been known to retain the passports of their semi or unskilled employees. All of the workers interviewed by Human Rights Watch in a 2006 report had had their passports confiscated. The kafala system of employment, which ties an employee to one employer and prevents him or her from seeking alternative employment without the expressed approval of the original employer operates in the UAE. Workers are therefore dependent on their employer for housing, wages and healthcare. The lack of proper enforcement mechanisms of the country’s labour laws means that in practice employers may break laws with little fear of prosecution. Accordingly, non-payment of wages, cramped and unsanitary living conditions, poor safety practices, physical and mental abuse are widespread.

The issue of sexual abuse among female domestic servants is an area of concern, particularly given that domestic servants are not covered by the UAE Labour Law of 1980 or the Draft Labour Law of 2007, which was heavily criticised by Human Rights Watch. In 2007 the falling dollar meant workers were unable to service debts and the incidence of suicides among Indian workers had reportedly been on the increase. Worker protests have been heavily cracked down on with reports of collective expulsion and imprisonment. The government has ignored international pressure to introduce trade unions despite repeated promises to do so going back to 2004.

From the perspective of international human rights law, the UAE is in violation of its obligations under the terms of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, in particular where its treatment of non-citizens is concerned. It is in violation of its obligations under the terms of the International Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, particularly where its treatment of domestic workers is concerned. Recent initiatives to stamp out the practice of child labor have headed off criticism that it violates its obligations under the terms of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. There is also an argument that the UAE is in violation of its obligation to stamp out the debt bondage and furthermore that the state is itself involved in it and profits from that debt bondage.

Even though the UAE government has made some advances in the protection of human rights, the U.S. Department of State notes in its annual report on human rights practices that numerous fundamentalist practices and policies exist to the contrary.

Guest workers are brought in from South Asia, and a common objection is that they are underpaid as their passports are held by their employers. There have been many reports of unskilled workers getting underpaid, and complaints of segregation abound.

As Sharia prohibits 'sodomy', homosexual relationships are not commonly disclosed. Homosexual behavior in public may result in imprisonment and/or deportation.

The UAE also does not allow individuals past retirement age to stay within the country without a job. Upon retirement, residents must return to their country of origin. People with TB, Hepatitis C and AIDS are also at a disadvantage as any non-citizen found with these illnesses may be deported.

Discrimination in the workplace has also been reported; prospective employers will specify religion, nationality (and even regional origin in some cases) and also specify the sex of required candidates within job advertisements. However, this is often a necessity due to modesty considerations in traditional societies as well as language requirements in a country where much of the population does not speak the national language. Different pay scales may also occur depending on nationality and sex in order to decrease an overwhelming reliance on foreign labour. Policies are in place in certain instances where state employers are required to fill in vacancies with UAE nationals, a process called Emiratisation.

Dubai has a public transport agency called the Dubai Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA). This authority is responsible for the bus network currently in operation. Recently, the RTA purchased 300 buses from Germany's MAN AG in an effort to reduce the city's growing traffic problem. RTA is also developing the Dubai Metro system. The first line (Red Line) is expected to be completed by September 2009. The yellow lines, currently in development, will go through the man-made Palm Islands.

Lately, the Emirate of Dubai created a new electronic toll collection system in July 2007, which emphasizes the system’s congestion management objectives as well as the choice of technology for the toll system. The new system, which is called Salik (meaning clear and smooth in Arabic) utilizes the latest technology to achieve free flow operation with no toll booths, no toll collectors, and no impact to traffic flow, allowing vehicles to move freely through the toll point at highway speeds. Each time one passes through a Salik toll point, the toll of AED 4 (1.09 USD) is deducted from his or her prepaid toll account using advanced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. The new system was implemented by the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai.

The national airline of Abu Dhabi was formerly Gulf Air, operated jointly with Bahrain and Oman. On September 13, 2005, Abu Dhabi announced that it was withdrawing from Gulf Air to concentrate on Etihad Airways, designated as the new national carrier of the UAE, established in November 2003.

In 1985, Dubai established its airline Emirates, which, as of 2007, is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world.

Air Arabia, a leading discount airline in the Persian Gulf region, is based in the Emirate of Sharjah.

RAK Airways is the fourth national airways of the United Arab Emirates, was established in February 2006, is based in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

The United Arab Emirates has several major ports, including one of the world's largest, Jebel Ali Port. Other important ports in the UAE include Port Zayed, Khalifa Port, Port Rashid, Port Khalid, Hamriyah Port, Port of Ajman, Saqr Port, Um Al Quwain, Khor Fhakan and Fujairah Port.

Media is one of the first industries that the emirate of Dubai has sought to develop through a number of micro-cities. Dubai Media City has helped to make Dubai the media hub for the region, encompassing both the creation of media, from print through television and new media, and the advertising and marketing industry.

A number of international news organizations, including Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France Press, Bloomberg, Dow Jones Newswires, CNN and the BBC, all have a presence in Dubai Media City, and enjoy complete freedom to report on local and regional events.

From late 2007, the international editions of The Times of London and its sister paper The Sunday Times will be printed in Dubai for local distribution.

The Association of Journalists caters only for those who work for the government owned media . Memberships is denied to media professional who do not work for state owned media, and excludes on line media professionals. And according to its members section only the 29 local journalists’ members who work for the state owned media can vote and participate in decision making, thus the decisions do not represent the interests of all journalists. And only journalists working for the state owned media can benefit from the free legal protection scheme should they encounter ‘legal disputes’ especially when both the victim and the accused happen to be both journalists as in the case reported by Abdullah, A (2005) where the member of the association only had the legal support while the other journalist working for a TV station owned by a private investor was denied legal help.

UAE has 2.3 million internet users.

Internet access is often filtered over the local proxy server of the telecommunication company Etisalat. Etisalat blocks access to sites it deems controversial. All websites of Israeli origin — ending with .il — are blocked in UAE. Gay themed websites are also blocked. VoIP is blocked, however officials have never released a clear statement concerning the reason for this. The only statement released is that the UAE has no regulation for VoIP and only the local telecommunication companies are allowed to use this technology.

The relative cost of broadband services in the U.A.E compared to Europe is high, for example a 2 Mbit/s connection costs AED349 (95 USD) per month from Etisalat or Du.

New sports are becoming popular alongside traditional camel racing. Examples include include golf, with two European Tour events in the country (the Dubai Desert Classic and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship) and the world's richest horse race, the Dubai World Cup, held annually in March.

Aside from the international circuit events, the UAE has a healthy indigenous sporting environment with the local community participating in a wide variety of clubs and establishments. The seven emirates regularly compete in national leagues and cups in a multiplicity of sports that are controlled by specialized governing bodies.

The country itself is a prime location for sporting events. The high quality sporting venues (both indoor and outdoor), in addition to the climate, ensure the continuation of activities throughout the winter season. Construction of Dubai Sports City is underway to take advantage of these benefits, and to establish the country as a hub for sports throughout the world.

The UAE has a huge interest in football. The United Arab Emirates Football Association was first established in 1971 and since then has dedicated its time and effort to promoting the game, organising youth programmes and improving the abilities of not only its players, but of the officials and coaches involved with its regional teams. The U.A.E. football team qualified for the World Cup in 1990 - with Egypt it was the third consecutive World Cup with two Arab nations qualifying after Kuwait and Algeria in 1982 and Iraq and Algeria again in 1986.

The UAE National Team won the 2005 Kirin Cup, sharing the cup with Peru after a 1-0 victory over host country Japan.

The UAE team played a four-team friendly in Switzerland in July 2005, in which they beat both Qatar and Kuwait but lost 5–4 on penalties in the final against Egypt.

In 2003 the UAE was the host nation of the FIFA U-20 World Cup between November and December 2003.

In April, Dubai Holding agreed to provide the national team with Dh20 million (US$5.45 million) sponsorship money over the next four years. The fund will also go towards developing the sport.

The UAE also recently won the Gulf Cup soccer championship held in Abu Dhabi January 2007.

The UAE are currently ranked 110th in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings.

Abu Dhabi United Group have recently purchased Manchester City Football Club. A Dubai consortium known as DIC (Dubai International Capital) is also interested in buying the English Premier League club, Liverpool F.C.

The UAE under 16 football team qualified for the 2009 Youth world cup which will be held in Nigeria. The UAE under 19 football team was also qualified for the World Youth Cup finals to be held in Egypt next year.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (part of the ATP International Series Gold at the Aviation Club, Dubai) was bigger than ever in 2000 with no less than six of the top-seeded women’s players taking centre court, a first time appearance by tennis’ golden boy, Andre Agassi, and the return of the celebrated Roger Federer, who was seeking his third title crown, resulting in some dramatic court action. In an unprecedented move, Dubai Duty Free, organisers of the championship, decided to switch the men’s tournament to the first week of the competition so that it ran from 21 to February 27 and the women’s was played from February 28 to March 5.

On February 15th, 2009, the Women's Tennis Association reported the United Arab Emirates had refused to grant a visa to a female Israeli tennis player, preventing her from competing in the Sony Ericsson World Tennis Association Tour in Dubai. UAE could lose its membership in the WTA since WTA policy says no player should be barred from competing in a tournament for which she has qualified.

Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the UAE, largely due to the expatriate population from the Indian subcontinent. Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in Sharjah has hosted 4 international Test matches so far. Sheikh Zayed Stadium and Al Jazira Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi also host international cricket. Dubai has two cricket stadiums (Dubai Cricket Ground No.1 and No.2) with a third, 'S3' currently under construction as part of Dubai Sports City. Dubai is also home to the International Cricket Council.

The United Arab Emirates national cricket team qualified for the 1996 Cricket World Cup and narrowly missed out on qualification for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

The inhabitants of the Persian Gulf states have enjoyed camel racing for many years as it is considered a traditional sport. Formalizing camel racing was one way of maintaining its central role in UAE life. In the past, UAE had a reputation for exploiting South Asians as jockeys. However, robot jockeys are now used after strict government regulations were passed prohibiting underage jockeys from racing.

The UAE now has no fewer than 15 race tracks across the seven emirates. Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, 10 kilometers outside of Dubai, Al Wathba, 30 kilometers south-east of Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain track, which is 20 kilometers west of Al Ain, are all large, well-equipped camel tracks with high-tech facilities. Two smaller tracks are located in Sharjah, one in Ra’s al-Khaimah and one in Umm al-Qaiwain. Others are spread throughout the desert areas.

In February 2007 it was announced that Bernie Ecclestone had signed a seven year deal with Abu Dhabi, to host a Formula 1 race there from the 2009 season. The 5.6 km circuit is to be set on Yas Island and it will include street and marina sections similar to Monaco's course.

U.A.E. hosts Dubai Sevens round of the IRB Sevens World Series. Previously this was held at Dubai Exiles Rugby Ground, but from 2008 onwards it has been held at the new stadium The Sevens on the Dubai-Al Ain road.

The U.A.E. is well-known for its falconry as it is also considered a traditional sport. Many of UAE's rulers were enthusiasts in falconry as the nation imports falcons from all across the globe.

Endurance riding and racing is a national sport in the UAE. It involves long distance races on horse back. UAE patriot Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is a premiere endurance rider. The UAE claim to be the global leaders of the sport and are campaigning for it to be in the olympics. At the top level, horses cover 160 km in a day.

For dependent and other territories, see Dependent territory.

1 Partly or significantly in Europe.  2 The Republic of China (Taiwan) is not officially recognized by the United Nations; see Political status of Taiwan. 3 Partly or significantly in Africa.  4 Partly or wholly reckoned in Oceania.

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Foreign relations of the United Arab Emirates

Since the Establishment of the United Arab Emirates in 2 December 1971 UAE has joined the United Nations and the Arab League and has established diplomatic relations with more than 60 countries, including the United States, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, India, the People's Republic of China, and most Western European countries. It has played a moderate role in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), the United Nations, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Substantial development assistance has increased the UAE's stature among recipient states. Most of this foreign aid (in excess of $15 billion) has been to Arab and Muslim countries.

Following Iraq's 1990 invasion and attempted annexation of Kuwait, the UAE has sought to rely on the GCC, the United States, and other Western allies for its security. The UAE believes that the Arab League needs to be restructured to become a viable institution and would like to increase strength and interoperability of the GCC defense forces.

The UAE is a member of the following international organizations: UN and several of its specialized agencies (ICAO, ILO, UPU, WHO, WIPO); World Bank, IMF, Arab League, Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), OPEC, Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Pakistan and the UAE are very close allies with extremely close relations based on cultural affinities, shared faith and have somehow the same identity of interests. These relations date back to the UAE's formation in 1971, and have since developed into wide-ranging co-operation in various fields. UAE has been a major donor of economic assistance to Pakistan.. Sheikh Zayed International Airport in Rahim Yar Khan, in the Punjab province of Pakistan is an example of UAE's economic assistance as the late president and the founder of the UAE Sheikh Zayed donated the airport to the government of Pakistan.

Pakistan was the first country to accord formal recognition to UAE on its achieving independence. Relations between the two countries have been increasing ever since.

UAE has emerged as one of Pakistan's major economic and trading partners. A large number of Pakistani expatriates, numbering nearly 400,000 are gainfully employed in UAE and has played a significant role between the relationship of the two countries.

Diplomatic relations between UAE and Japan were established as early as UAE's independence in December 1971. The two countries had always enjoyed friendly ties and trade between each other, exports from UAE to Japan include crude oil and natural gas and imports from Japan to UAE include Cars and Electric items.

UAE and Iran maintain very close economic ties and the UAE has a significant Iranian community. However, UAE claims 3 islands on the Persian gulf that are now part of Iran's territory, these island are Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb who were occupied by Iranian forces on 30 November 1971. The UAE argue that the islands were under the control of Qasimi Sheikhs throughout the 19th century, whose rights were then inherited by the UAE after 1971. Iran counters by stating that the local Qasimi rulers during a crucial part of the 19th century were actually based on the Iranian, not the Arab, coast, and had thus become Persian islands.

In June 2008, the Iraqi government announced that the United Arab Emirates would send an ambassador to Baghdad within a few days. This would become the first Arab ambassador in Iraq since the kidnapping and murder of Ihab el-Sherif in July 2005. This announcement was made during a surprise visit by the United Arab Emirates' Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Baghdad on 5 June 2008. This marked the first time a high-ranking official from a Gulf state visited Iraq since March 2003.

On 31 July 2007 following Iraq victory of the Asian Cup, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE awarded the Iraq National football team 20 million Dhs, ($5.2 million) for capturing the Asian Cup for the first time in the country’s history.

Since 3000 B.C, relations between India and the seven emirates which now makes up the UAE were traditionally close.The UAE and India had enjoyed close and friendly ties based on historic and cultural ties. People-to-people contacts and barter trade for clothes and spices from India in exchange for dates and pearls from the region have existed for centuries. After the creation of the Federation in 1971, India-UAE relations flourished. Today UAE and India share political, economical and cultural links and is also home to over one million Indians. A large Indian expatriate community resides and engages in the UAE in economically productive activities and has played a significant role in the evolution of the UAE. However, many incidents concerning India's expatriate workforce in the UAE, have caused friction in Indo-Emirati relations.

The UAE’s liberal climate towards foreign cooperation, investment and modernization have prompted extensive commercial ties with western countries, and subsequently resulting in even closer cultural relations. The country remains a major global tourist and foreign direct investment destination but a few countries play a more significant role than the rest.

The UAE’s relationship with France has been strategically important as it negotiated a defence cooperation agreement and remains one of the country’s primary providers of military material. France and the UAE have signed a defence cooperation agreement in order to diversity its procurement from solely the US. Culturally, as the Sorbonne and Louvre are both establishing extensions in the UAE,a plan is in the works to recreate a miniature Lyon city in Dubai complete with public squares, restaurants and museums.

Economically, the UAE is the UK’s largest export market for non-military goods in the Middle East. The same applies to Germany, where exports amount to 5.84 billion Euros. German companies significantly contribute to the UAE’s ongoing infrastructure projects and play a leading role in the country’s alternative energy developments. Consequently, German Business Park, an area designed to house several of the already seven hundred present companies and their logistical needs, is in the midst of construction.

Most significant however, has been the UAE’s strategic relationship with the United States, which dates back to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Subsequent to joining the military effort, the two countries signed an agreement in late 1992 allowing for US bases on Emirate soil. July 25, 1994, a formal Defense Cooperation Agreement has been in place. Ten years later, despite publicly opposing the US led war on Iraq, the UAE permitted a minimal amount of US forces to support the operation from the Al Dhafra air base, Jebel Ali, and naval facilities at Fujairah. Enhancing security relations, has been a US arms sale in March of 2000 to the Emirates, valued at $8 billion and included over $2 billion worth of weapons, munitions, and services.

Commercially, the UAE is also the State’s largest export market in the Middle East constituting $11.6 billion in exports annually. In March of 2005, the US opened negotiations on a free trade agreement and despite recent increasing depreciation of Gulf currencies, the UAE dirham remains pegged to the plunging dollar. The two countries have also maintained close ties through an exchange of cultural and educational partnerships which include the Guggenheim museum, and a number of American Universities opening campuses in the Emirates.

The UAE plays a growing role as a drug trafficking center due to its proximity to southwest Asian producing countries and the bustling free trade zone in Dubai, as a result UAE have one of the strongest anti-drug law enforcements, and the penalty of drug position is very severe, so the government of UAE makes sure that tourists are warned of UAE drug laws before entering the country.

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Economy of the United Arab Emirates

Burj Dubai in Skyline on 24 December 2007.jpg

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the most developed countries in the world, based on various socioeconomic indicators such as GDP per capita, energy consumption per capita, and the HDI.

There are various deviating estimates regarding the actual growth rate of the nation’s GDP, however all available statistics indicate that the UAE currently has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. According to a recent report by the Ministry of Finance and Industry, nominal GDP rose by 35 per cent in 2006 to $175 billion, compared with $130 billion in 2005.

Although the United Arab Emirates is becoming less dependent on natural resources as a source of revenue, petroleum and natural gas exports still play an important role in the economy, especially in Abu Dhabi. A massive construction boom, an expanding manufacturing base, and a thriving services sector are helping the UAE diversify its economy. Nationwide, there is currently $350 billion worth of active construction projects. 3 The UAE is a member of the World Trade Organization.

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of United Arab Emirates at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of Dirhams.

For purchasing power parity comparisons, the US Dollar is exchanged at 4.41 Dirhams only. Average wages in 2007 hover around $210-254 per day.

In 2003, the UAE produced about 2.3 million barrels (370,000 m³) of oil per day--of which Abu Dhabi produced approximately 85%--with Dubai, and Sharjah to a much lesser extent, producing the rest. Indeed, estimates say that Dubai has less than 10 years of oil left at current production levels and Sharjah has less. Sharjah however, does have some gas reserves remaining. Dubai's small remaining gas reserves are earmarked for use by Dubal (Dubai Aluminium Company Limited), which is one of the largest aluminium smelters in the world, with a very low cost per tonne of production, thanks in part to its energy needs being met by these gas reserves.

Major increases in imports occurred in manufactured goods, machinery, and transportation equipment, which together accounted for 80% of total imports. Another important foreign exchange earner, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority--which controls the investments of Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest emirate--manages an estimated $360 billion in overseas investments & an estimated $900 billion in assets.

More than 200 factories operate at the Jebel Ali complex in Dubai, which includes a deep-water port and a free trade zone for manufacturing and distribution in which all goods for re-export or transshipment enjoy a 100% duty exemption. A major power plant with associated water desalination units, an aluminium smelter, and a steel fabrication unit are prominent facilities in the complex. The complex is currently undergoing expansion, with sections of land set aside for different sectors of industry. A large international passenger and cargo airport, Dubai World Central International Airport, with associated logistics, manufacturing and hospitality industries, is also planned here.

Except in the free trade zone, the UAE requires at least 51% local citizen ownership in all businesses operating in the country as part of its attempt to place Emiratis into leadership positions. However, this law is under review and the majority ownership clause will very likely be scrapped, to bring the country into line with World Trade Organisation regulations.

As a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the UAE participates in the wide range of GCC activities that focus on economic issues. These include regular consultations and development of common policies covering trade, investment, banking and finance, transportation, telecommunications, and other technical areas, including protection of intellectual property rights.

In the Arab world, UAE has the third-largest non-oil GDP, behind Egypt and Morocco, as of 2005.

Recently, the Emirate of Dubai has started to look for other sources of revenue. High-class tourism and international finance are the new sectors starting to be developed. In line with this initiative, the Dubai International Financial Centre was announced, offering 55.5% foreign ownership, no withholding tax, freehold land and office space and a tailor-made financial regulatory system with laws taken from best practice in other leading financial centres like New York, London, Zürich and Singapore. A new stock market for regional companies and other initiatives were announced in DIFC. Dubai has also developed Internet and Media free zones, offering 100% foreign ownership, no tax office space for the worlds leading ICT and media companies, with the latest communications infrastructure to service them. Many of the world's leading companies have now set up branch offices, and even changed headquarters to, there. Recent liberalisation in the property market allowing non citizens to buy freehold land has resulted in a major boom in the construction and real estate sectors, with several signature developments such as the 2 Palm Islands, the World (archipelago), Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers, and a number of other developments, offering villas and high rise apartments and office space.

In As of 2001, budgeted government revenues were about AED 29.7 billion, and expenditures were about AED 22.9 billion.

The stock market capitalisation of listed companies in the UAE was valued at $225,568 million in 2005 by the World Bank.

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List of birds of the United Arab Emirates

This is a list of the bird species recorded in the United Arab Emirates. The avifauna of the United Arab Emirates includes a total of 437 species, of which 14 have been introduced by humans, and 148 are rare or accidental. 10 species are globally threatened.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of Clements's 5th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflects this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for the United Arab Emirates.

The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories. It must be noted that not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring, native species.

Non-passerines: Grebes . Shearwaters and Petrels . Storm-Petrels . Tropicbirds . Pelicans . Boobies and Gannets . Cormorants . Bitterns, Herons and Egrets . Storks . Ibises and Spoonbills . Flamingos . Ducks, Geese and Swans . Osprey . Hawks, Kites and Eagles . Caracaras and Falcons . Pheasants and Partridges . Cranes . Rails, Crakes, Gallinules, and Coots . Bustards . Crab Plover . Oystercatchers . Avocets and Stilts . Thick-knees . Pratincoles and Coursers . Plovers and Lapwings . Sandpipers and allies . Skuas and Jaegers . Gulls . Terns . Sandgrouse . Pigeons and Doves . Parrots, Macaws and allies . Cuckoos and Anis . Barn owls . Typical owls . Nightjars . Swifts . Kingfishers . Bee-eaters . Typical Rollers . Hoopoes . Woodpeckers and allies .

Passerines: Larks . Swallows and Martins . Wagtails and Pipits . Bulbuls . Grey Hypocolius . Thrushes and allies . Cisticolas and allies . Old World warblers . Old World flycatchers . Babblers . Sunbirds and Spiderhunters . Old World Orioles . Shrikes . Drongos . Crows, Jays, Ravens and Magpies . Starlings . Weavers and allies . Waxbills and allies . Buntings, Sparrows, Seedeaters and allies . Siskins, Crossbills and allies . Sparrows .

Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterised by united nostrils with a medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The storm-petrels are relatives of the petrels, and are the smallest of sea-birds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There are 21 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings. There are 3 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the United Arab Emirates.

Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes. There are 8 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups comprise medium-to-large coastal sea-birds that plunge-dive for fish. There are 9 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium-to-large coastal, fish-eating sea-birds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black and white, and a few being colourful. There are 38 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Unlike other long-necked birds suck as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 61 species worldwide and 14 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute; bill-clattering is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 19 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers. There are 36 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet high, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. They are more numerous in the latter. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly-shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. There are 6 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating. There are 131 species worldwide and 23 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the Osprey. The Osprey is a medium large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 233 species worldwide and 28 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. There are 62 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they may vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". There are 15 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. There are 143 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips, and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays. There are 26 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The Crab Plover is related to the waders. It resembles a plover but with very long grey legs and a strong heavy black bill similar to a tern. It has black and white plumage, a long neck, partially webbed feet and a bill designed for eating crabs.

The oystercatchers are large and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs. There are 11 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the United Arab Emirates.

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and the stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats. There are 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long pointed bills which curve downwards. There are 17 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions. There are 66 species worldwide and 16 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The Scolopacidae are a large diverse family of small to medium sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 89 species worldwide and 32 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Laridae is a family of medium to large birds seabirds and includes gulls and kittiwakes. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. There are 55 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Terns are a group of generally general medium to large sea-birds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species now known to live in excess of 25 to 30 years. There are 44 species worldwide and 18 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Sandgrouse have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes. There are 16 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 308 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak shape. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and the have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two back. There are 335 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Unlike the cuckoo species of the Old World, North American cuckoos are not brood parasites. There are 138 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the United Arab Emirates.

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 195 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves. There are 86 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. There are 98 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colorful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the United Arab Emirates.

Woodpeckers are small to medium sized birds with chisel like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward, and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 218 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the United Arab Emirates.

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are 91 species worldwide and 13 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 54 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throat or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests.There are 130 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The Grey Hypocolius is a small Middle Eastern bird. They are mainly a uniform grey color, with males having a black triangular mask around the eyes, and with the shape and soft plumage of the waxwings.

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 335 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub. There are 111 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. The Sylviidae mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs. There are 291 species worldwide and 36 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. There 274 species worldwide and 32 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The babblers or timaliids are somewhat diverse in size and coloration, but are characterised by soft fluffy plumage. There are 270 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the United Arab Emirates.

The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are 131 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the United Arab Emirates.

The Old World Orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are 29 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the United Arab Emirates.

Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are 31 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The drongos are mostly are black or dark grey in colour, sometimes with metallic tints. They have long forked tails, and some Asian species have elaborate tail decorations. They have short legs and sit very upright whilst perched, like a shrike. They flycatch or take prey from the ground. There are 24 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the United Arab Emirates.

The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size for the bird order Passeriformes. Some of the larger species show high levels of learning behavior. There are 120 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are 125 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season. There are 116 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed-eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have a wide variation in plumage colours and pattern. There are 141 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the United Arab Emirates.

The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with a distinctively shaped bill. In Europe, most species are named as buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as Sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. There are species 275 worldwide and 13 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have 12 tail feathers and 9 primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. There are 137 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects. There are 35 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in the United Arab Emirates.

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Source : Wikipedia