08 December 2012

Armenian Gull – Al Khobar Corniche

The Al Khobar Corniche site had a hundred plus Large White-headed Gulls (LWHG) of which only one was an Armenian Gull Larus armenicus. My current theory is less than 1% of the large white-headed gulls in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia are Armenian Gulls. This number is still under evaluation as its status is unclear in the area and more detailed study of this flock of LWHG may enable me to come to a more conclusive idea as to its status. Currently it is regarded as a scarce winter visitor to the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and can be seen from early October onwards. Armenian Gull has a breeding range in the inland lakes of Armenia, Georgia, eastern Turkey and northwest Iran and winters mainly in the eastern Mediterranean with some spreading to northern Red Sea. It is a common gull in Israel and birds are regularly seen in Kuwait each winter. There are no confirmed records from the United Arab Emirates showing the species becomes scarcer the further south one goes in the Eastern Part of the Arabian Peninsula.