11 October 2012

Savis Warbler - Alba Marsh (Bahrain)

Whilst ringing at Alba Marsh on Friday morning Nicole extracted a bird from the net of which she was not 100% certain of the identification. This is normally good news and she is generally very confident of birds she has ringed before. The bird was not a Caspian Reed Warbler and when I looked at the under-tail coverts it was obviously a locustella warbler and Savi’s Warbler looked good. We checked at the details in Svensson’s ringing guide and it turned out to be a Savi’s Warbler, a bird I had ringed at the same site on 9th March 2012 but one that Nicole had not ringed previously. Savi’s Warbler is a good bird for Bahrain and is currently classed as a vagrant with birds seen in both spring and autumn migration periods. The fact we have caught two different birds in a year at the same site may indicate they are a rare or scarce passage migrant rather than a vagrant? but only time will tell. The subspecies of Savi’s Warbler that occurs in the region is Locustella luscinoides fusca which is more olive brown with paler under-parts and more obvious white tips to the under-tail coverts than the nominate European form L l luscinodes making it look slightly different. L l fusca breeds in Turkey & Jordon eastwards to central Asia including north and south Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, north-east Iran and probably north-west Afghanistan. They winter in north-east Africa principally in Sudan & Ethiopia. Birds have bred in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and have been suspected of breeding in Kuwait.