2 Apr 2015

Three new ringing species for our project in Saudi Arabia – Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst ringing on 27 March 2015 we caught and ringed three new species for our project in Saudi Arabia. These were Common Grasshopper Warbler, Ménétriés's Warbler and Eurasian Blackcap. Ménétriés's Warbler is an uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor seen from October until April in most years but is not often seen at Sabkhat Al Fasl itself due to the lack of suitable cover. The bird we caught was a nominate Sylvia mystacea mystacea that breeds from the lower River Volga south to eastern Turkey, southeast Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and northern Iran and winters south to Arabia and northeast Africa. In this race the male has forehead, crown and ear-coverts blackish, grading into pale grey of upperparts with a broad white submoustachial stripe contrasting with vinous-pink throat to upper breast with pale greyish-pink breast side and flanks and a whitish belly. Two othr races also occur in Saudi Arabia, S. m. turcmenica that breeds in southern Turkmenistan and northeast Iran, and from southern Kazakhstan, central and eastern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan south to northern Afghanistan, also western Pakistan and winters south to Arabia and northeast Africa. In this race the male is slightly paler and whiter below than nominate. S. m. rubescens breeds from southeast Turkey south to northern Syria, Iraq and western Iran and winters south to Arabia and northeast Africa. In this race the male is paler grey above and whiter below, vinous-pink coloration being replaced by faint pinkish tinge on chest. The second was a Common Grasshopper Warbler that is a rare passage migrant in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia where they occur on passage from early March to April and again in September and was the most unusual of the new species. I posted about this bird a couple of days ago so please look there for more information. The last species that we had not ringed before in Saudi Arabia was Eurasian Blackcap that is a passage migrant that passes from March to early May and again from September to October. Eurasian Blackcap numbers vary greatly each year where they can range from common to scarce depending on prevailing conditions.
Menetries's Warbler
Menetries's Warbler
Menetries's Warbler
Menetries's Warbler
Common Grasshopper Warbler
Common Grasshopper Warbler
Eurasian Blackcap
Eurasian Blackcap


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