19 October 2013

Possible breeding of Great Reed Warbler a first for Bahrain – Alba Marsh (Bahrain)

On Saturday 12 October 2013 Nicole and I caught a very young Great Reed Warbler at Alba Marsh in Bahrain. The bird had a patch on the belly indicating it was just out of the nest as well as a fairly obvious yellow gape (see photographs below). Due to these reasons we initially thought the bird was a Clamorous Reed Warbler as they breed in Bahrain at Alba Marsh but after taking wing measurements it became apparent the bird was a Great Reed Warbler. We also caught three other Great Reed Warblers on the same day including adult birds. The fact the bird was so young suggests it may have bred at the site, which, as far as I know, would be a first occurrence for Bahrain. Bill measurements as well as all other ringing data also confirmed the bird was a Great Reed Warbler rather than a Clamorous Reed Warbler. Great Reed Warbler has bred in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia as well as in Kuwait but most records refer to birds breeding in the summer months. They breed from April to August in northern Europe, but during the winter in parts of Africa so it is possible they could breed much later than August in Bahrain. The late date of this bird could indicate it was a passage migrant, and I am unaware of how young birds can be before migrating? I am trying to find out more information on the breeding of Great Reed Warbler and will report further if more interesting information becomes available.