19 Apr 2013

Five out of seven Shrikes – Dhahran Hills


The Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia has seven different species of shrikes present at various times during the year. Yesterday I saw five out of the six species in a single day which was great as three of them I had not seen so far this year, Lesser Grey Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Woodchat Shrike and Masked Shrike. The other shrike species seen were Daurian Shrike and Turkestan Shrike and the species not see was Southern Grey Shrike, which currently includes Mauryan (Steppe) Grey Shrike. Yesterday early morning was an amazing morning for shrikes with more seen in a single day than I have ever seen in Dhahran previously. There were at least 30 Turkestan Shrikes, one Daurian Shrike, five Red-backed Shrikes (four adult males and one adult female), three Lesser Grey Shrikes and one Masked Shrike. The majority of birds were in the spray fields including a nice male Red-backed Shrike x Turkestan Shrike hybrid. The Lesser Grey Shrikes were mainly in the trees and shrubs surrounding the spray fields and percolation pond with the Masked Shrike in the trees at the edge of the pond. All other birds were either in the spray fields or the scrubby desert areas.
Lesser Grey Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike
Red-backed Shrike - male
Red-backed Shrike - male
Turkestan Shrike
Turkestan Shrike

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