04 October 2012

Black-eared Kite - Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst birding at Sabkhat Al Fasl I found a juvenile Black Kite sitting on the mud on one of the dry concrete settling pools. The bird never allowed close approach and soon flew off into the reedy area. I later saw the same bird in flight in a similar area where it circled up into the sky and few off inland. The Black Kite is a medium-sized bird of prey that is a widespread species throughout the temperate and tropical parts of Eurasia and parts of Australasia with two sub-species, European Black Kite & Black-eared Kite being uncommon to rare migrants and rare winter visitors to the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. Black-eared Kite M. m. lineatus not sufficiently distinctive to justify specific status and there is a large interbreeding zone between these two sub-species in Central Asia, Siberia & Mongolia and these intergrades may well occur in Saudi Arabia. This bird appears to be a Black-eared Kite type due to the pale vent, well streaked under-parts excepting vent and prominently marked primaries with larger white under-wing patch. Black-eared Kites have only been sub-specifically identified in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia this year and all records are from the Jubail area from June onwards.