3 Dec 2017

Moustached Warbler trapped and ringed – Jubail

While ringing on Friday 17 November 2017 we trapped and ringed a Moustached Warbler, this is the fourth bird we have ringed at this site in two winters with the first being on 7 February 2014. This is the earliest bird trapped with the others in January (2) and February. The bird showed an appearance similar to the eastern subspecies A. m. mimica that occurs from eastern Turkey, Iraq, Transcaucasia, and the lower Volga east to Kazakhstan and northwest India. This subspecies differs from nominate A. m. melanopogon by having dull olive-grey upperparts, not rufous-brown with the black of the crown less intense, more heavily streaked olive. The underparts are largely white with the flanks rather pale pink-brown similar to Sedge Warbler A. schoenobaenus. The Moustached Warbler has been recorded as a local breeder in the Central region and Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia with the first breeding site in Saudi Arabia located at Hufuf in the Eastern Province. Records of Moustached Warbler are now quite widespread from the Eastern Province, with the first record at Sabkhat al Fasl seen in 1990 but there have been no breeding records from the site. There are breeding records from nearby where Brian Meadows found them at a small wetlands in Jubail as well as at nearby Khafra Marsh about 30 kilometers south. Pairs have been seen at Sabkhat Al Fasl in April and May indicating a strong likelihood of breeding although birds tend to be resident on their breeding grounds. We have not seen or trapped birds in the spring, summer or autumn at the site, and there is evidence of an influx of birds in winter to the area, suggesting they are a winter visitor to the site. Away from the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, they are a scarce migrant and winter visitor mainly in the north of the country.
Moustached Warbler

Moustached Warbler

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