22 Apr 2017

Black-crowned Tchagra at the bottom of Raydah Escarpment - Abha

Whilst birding the bottom of the Raydah Escarpment in late March I came across a Black-crowned Tchagra. This was a new species for me in Saudi Arabia and one I was surprised I had not seen before. The bird was at the bottom of the Raydah Escarpment an area known to attract several African species and the bird was in relatively dense cover for most of the time. There are a number of subspecies of Black-crowned Tchagra with the one occurring in southwest Saudi Arabia, west and east Yemen and southern Oman T. s. percivali. This subspecies is distinctive, and has its upperparts and underparts uniform dark grey, but chin and throat white. It differs from all other races in lacking any vestige of black or rufous on the scapulars and in having central tail feathers black (not grey-brown) a white supercilium and unpatterened tertials. The species is mainly an African one with the birds in Arabia the only subspecies occurring outside of the African continent. They are an uncommon bird seen only in the southwest of the Kingdom.
Black-crowned Tchagra

Black-crowned Tchagra

Black-crowned Tchagra

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