The Egyptian interior minister's assistant for water surfaces and the environment Nabil Ebada has issued a directive against hunting the American Golden Heron, which has been seen flying over the Nile recently, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.
The birds have been migrating from Europe and Iran to spend the winter season in Port Said, Red Sea Islands, Nile islands and Marsa Alam natural reserves.
Ebada's directive is in accordance with an August decision by the environment ministry to regulate hunting birds during migration season, which started on 1 September and will last until mid-November, Khaled Allam, the head of the central administration of biological variety at the ministry, told Ahram Online.
The decision only allows for the hunting of 21 types of migrating birds in some areas of northern governorates, Allam added.
"However, hunting birds in natural reserves is banned by law," said Allam.
"There are 481 kinds of migrating birds that pass through or spend the winter season in Egypt, and their migration is very important to the ecosystem in the country," Allam said, adding that these birds include eagles and hawks.
There are 36 kinds of rare birds that migrate to Egypt or through it, including the Heron birds, according to Allam.
The rare coastal and freshwater Golden Heron is one of 64 species of heron, which mostly feed on fish and insects.