17 Dec 2012

European Nightjar in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia & Bahrain (Part 3)


European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus unwini (1st year female) Badan, Bahrain – 28th October 2008 used with kind permission of Brendan Kavanagh



European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus unwini (1st year female) Badan, Bahrain – 28th October 2008 used with kind permission of Brendan Kavanagh


European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus unwini (1st year female) Badan, Bahrain – 28th October 2008 used with kind permission of Brendan Kavanagh


European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus unwini (1st year female) Badan, Bahrain – 28th October 2008 used with kind permission of Brendan Kavanagh


European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus unwini (1st year female) Badan, Bahrain – 28th October 2008 used with kind permission of Brendan Kavanagh

This note was spurred by the above photographs of a bird caught and ringed in Bahrain in 2008 originally thought to be an Egyptian Nightjar. The plumage details and measurements of the bird do not fit Egyptian Nightjar (wing 193 - 216) although it does fit a European Nightjar of the grey type C. e. unwini & C. e. sarudnyi as well as juvenile C. e. meridionalis. Juvenile birds are the smallest of all the races with C. e. meridionalis adults from Italy measuring 188.5 - 191.5 & juveniles 174.5 and C. e. europaeus from Britain (the smallest population of this subspecies) measuring adult 196.1 +/-5.3 & juvenile 188.9 +/- 8.6 (BTO ringing data). No birds have been assigned to subspecies in Saudi Arabia to my knowledge, although World Bird Info says C. e. europaeus, C. e. meridionalis & C. e. sarudnyi occur. All the records and photographs of Saudi Arabian birds I have seen refer to nominate C. e. europaeus, with the exception of an ‘unwini’ type winter record mentioned earlier. I would assign the above bird to the subspecies C. e. unwini showing that the race passes through Eastern Arabia at least. I saw one European Nightjar on 5th May 2011 in Dhahran, Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia that appeared to be a greyish form but it was late in the evening and the light was poor (see photo below) and it was not possible to get detailed plumage characteristics in the field. If anyone has any thoughts on this one please leave a comment below.


European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus ssp? Dhahran, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia – 5th May 2011



European Nightjar measurements

Some interesting data from Chokpak Pass ringing station, Kazakhstan (420 31'N 700 38'E) which is situated in Kazakhstan in the Western Tien Shan, between Zabaglytau (Talassky Alatau) and Boroldai (Karatau) ridges. Maximum altitudes of Zabaglytau are 2700-2900 m a.s.l., and Boroldai - 1500-1700 m a.s.l. The pass, where the ringing station is located, is the narrowest place between the Talassky Alatau and Karatau, being no more than 7-9 km wide & is the highest point of the inter-mountain valley at 1200 . a.s.l. The countryside is made up of relatively plain steppe plots used as arable land (90%) for cereals, vegetables etc. Original bunch grass steppe covers much of the slopes of the smaller peaks. Forest plantations occur as lines along the borders of fields and roads.
European Nightjar subspecies that pass through Chokpak Pass, Kazakhstan in spring and autumn

The above information shows the subspecies that pass through Kazakhstan in spring and autumn and should give at least an indication of what birds might be passing through Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

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