27 Jan 2017

Rare and unusual birds seen in Saudi Arabia in second half of 2016

A pair of Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus with two recently hatch young, 12 August, were the first record of breeding for the species in the Kingdom. An unprecedented influx of Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris were seen with fifteen 30 kilometers east of Zulfi 8 November, six together 40 kilometers north of Zulfi 11 November and 40 at Sakaka near Al Jouf 6 – 12 November. A Goliath Heron Ardea goliath returned to KAUST 22 October until 5 November at least. A Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus at Sabkhat Al Fasl 7 October. Two winter plumaged Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus at Sabkhat Al Fasl 7 October. A Eurasian Scops Owl Otus scops was at KAUST, 1 & 2 October a first record for the site. A Pied Cuckoo Oxylophus jacobinus was at Al Mefah Park, Tanoumah 7 July with another well north of its normal range at Wadi Thee Gazelle 25 June. Two male Diederik Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius were still at Al Mehfar Park, Tanoumah 7 & 8 July. Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius were at Sabkhat Al Fasl throughout the summer until 16 September, with a maximum 13 recorded. A minimum of three Montane Nightjar Caprimulgus poliocephalus were at Al Mehfar Park, Tanoumah 7 & 8 July.
Arabian Magpie
Arabian Magpie
A White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis was at Sabkhat Al Fasl 28 October. A Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis were at KAUST 23 September to 3 October only the third documented record from the west coast and four were at Sabkhat Al Fasl 28 October until 11 November at least. Five Arabian Magpie Pica (pica) asirensis, two adults and three juveniles, were at Al Mehfar Park, Tanoumah 8 July with six at nearby Sallal al-Dahna 28 October.
Blanford's Lark
Blanford's Lark

Four Blanford’s Lark Calandrella blanfordi were at Talea’a Valley including adults and juveniles 6 & 9 July. Four Oriental Skylarks Alauda gulgula were at Sabkhat Al Fasl 11 November.  A European Robin Erithacus rubecula was on the west coast at KAUST 11 November with another on the same day on the east coast at Sabkhat Al Fasl. Eight African Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus eximius including two adults feeding young were in Al Mefah Park, Tanoumah 7 & 8 July with another in song flight in the Talea’a Valley 9 July.

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