26 March 2013

Menetries’s Warbler (S. m. rubescens) at Sabkhat Al Fasl – Bird records by Phil Roberts

Phil Roberts went to Sabkhat Al Fasl last weekend and took a photograph of a Menetries’s Warbler Sylvia mystacea. The normal sub-species we get passing through the region in the spring is S. m. mystacea breeding eastern Turkey and northern Iran but the bird Phil photographed was a S. m. rubescens breeding south-east Turkey, western Iran and Iraq, along one of the reed beds. Both species are meant to winter in Arabia and also pass through, mainly in spring with autumn records being rare. We only see birds on passage in the Dhahran area of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia with all the birds I have seen being S. m. mystacea but this record shows that the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia has both sub-species passing through on migration in spring at least. They are relatively easy to tell apart with S. m. mystacea having a salmon pink to brick red throat and S. m. rubescens having a pale whitish throat with little or no pink tinge in adult male birds. Phil very kindly allowed me to use his photograph on my website and the copyright of this photo remains with Phil. Phil also saw two Eastern Cinereous Buntings at Sabkhat Al Fasl, which is a scarce passage migrant through the region.
Menetries's Warbler (Sylvia mystacea rubescens) - Sabkhat Al Fasl (Saudi Arabia)
Menetries's Warbler (Sylvia mystacea mystacea) - Durat Al Bahrain (Bahrain) March 2012