22 Jan 2015

Streaked Scrub Warbler at Wadi Thee Ghazal - Taif

Whilst birding at Wadi Thee Ghazal near Taif I saw and photographed a Streaked Scrub Warbler that looked different to Scrub Warblers that I saw in southwest Saudi Arabia near Abha previously. As a result I looked into what subspecies occurs in the region. Geographical variation is marked between some subspecies mainly involving the body ground-colour and the amount and size of streaking on the head and chest. Nominate inquieta Egypt, Israel and northrn Arabia has pale sandy-brown upperparts with the forehead and crown with sharp black-brown shaft-streaks 0·5–1 mm wide, extending as faint dull brown streaking onto the mantle. The supercilium is a similar in colour to the ground-colour of the upperparts and does not contrast much. S. i. theresae from south-west Morocco, western Sahara and Mauritania is very dark, quite different from nominate inquieta; The upperparts are a cold sooty-brown, slightly tinged rufous when fresh, heavily streaked black on crown and hindneck; front part of supercilium and cheek cinnamon-rufous, contrasting markedly with black loral stripe and grey rear of head; chin to chest cream-white, rather heavily streaked greyish-black, remainder of underparts contrastingly deep pink-brown. grisea from western Saudi Arabia, eastern Yemen and Oman that has also been noted from the Mecca and Jeddah areas of Saudi Arabia are dark, near theresae, but the upperparts are more grey-brown and streaks on the crown and chin to chest are slightly less heavy. They are, however, far more heavily streaked than nominate inquieta. The bill of this and other eastern races are heavier than in theresae and saharae. S. i. buryi from south-west Saudi Arabia and western Yemen are even darker and more heavily streaked than theserae with the upperparts dark sooty-brown, flank and belly rufous-cinnamon or red-brown. As a result it appears the birds I saw were similar to grisea due to less heavy streaking on the head and breast and slightly less dark colour compared to buryi.
Streaked Scrub Warbler

Streaked Scrub Warbler

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