01 June 2011

Crested Honey-Buzzard

Crested Honey-Buzzard had not been recorded in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia when the book The Birds of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia by Bundy, Connor & Harrison was published in August 1989. There have been one or two records in the last few years, but in 2011, I personally saw three different birds and another adult female was seen and well photographed by Michael Pittman perched on a lamp-post in Dhahran camp.

Both Crested Honey-Buzzard and Western Honey-Buzzard occur in the Dhahran area of Saudi Arabia and the fact that four different birds were seen this winter / spring suggests that birds are commoner than the records suggest and reflects how under-watched the area is bird wise. These birds may winter in the area and are also probably passage migrants.

Crested Honey-Buzzard records:-
Immature (born the previous year) - 13th March 2011
Adult Female - 13th March 2011 (both in the air together - female with a mising primary)
Adult Male - 5th & 6th May 2011
Adult Female - 7th May 2011
Dick Forsman very kindly helped me with confirmation of my sightings for species, age and sex.
 Immature (Born previous year) – 13th March 2011, Dhahran Hills
Adult Male - 5th & 6th May 2011, Dhahran Hills, Percolation Pond (above & below)
Some of the key points distinguishing Crested Honey-Buzzard from Western Honey-Buzzard are:-
Six fingured primaries (compared to five in Western Honey-Buzzard)
Broad Wings
Lack of dark carpal patch
Tail and wing baring in flight
Structure is heavier set
Male had dark eye (yellow in Western Honey-Buzzard)