21 Mar 2015

Daurian & Turkestan Shrikes trapped and ringed – Sabkhat Al Fasl

As I have mentioned in a previous post the status of Daurian and Turkestan Shrikes in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is not well documented but there seems to be a distinction between the arrival dates and occurrence of the two species. Daurian Shrike is a passage migrant and winter visitor with the first autumn passage birds seen in September some of which over-winter and remain until March. In late February and early March a good number of passage birds join the smaller number of wintering birds making sightings common in parks, and wetland areas with reed beds. Turkestan Shrike is less common than Daurian Shrike and is a passage migrant from September to October and from early March until May. As a result there are only a couple of months when both species can be seen together in the area with these being March, September and October. As a result our ringing trip to Sabkhat Al Fasl in mid-March allowed us to catch both species in the same ringing session allowing close comparison of the adult males of the species. We do not catch many shrikes in Saudi Arabia but have caught a couple of wintering Daurian before, so it was a surprise to catch two Daurian and one Turkestan even though the month was ideal for seeing both shrikes together. The differences in upperpart colours were obvious with Durian being much greyer and Turkestan much browner.  The underparts colour of Daurian is normally less white than the bird we caught with Turkestan always showing whitish underparts in males.
Turkestan Shrike (left) & Daurian Shrike (right)
Turkestan Shrike (left) & Daurian Shrike (right)
Daurian Shrike
Daurian Shrike
Turkestan Shrike
Turkestan Shrike

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