10 Nov 2013

Birds of Prey (Tabuk) – Bird records by Viv Wilson

Viv Wilson has taken a few nice photos of Birds of Prey in Tabuk during the last few weeks. He travelled out west from Tabuk and found an animal carcass on the side of the road that was attracting the attention of Steppe Eagle and Eastern Imperial Eagle. Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis is a common migrant and winter visitor to the south-west, northern Hejaz and Central Arabia where up to 1000 birds have been recorded in a small area. It is an uncommon winter visitor to other regions such as the Eastern Province but is commoner in the north than the south of this region. Birds are normally seen between late -September and mid-April. Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca is an uncommon but regular winter visitor to Central Arabia, Tabuk and the Gulf with up to four birds seen together. Records are mainly between mid-October and late March.
Steppe Eagle (left) & Eastern Imperial Eagle (right)
Eastern Imperial Eagle
Steppe Eagles
Steppe Eagle
Steppe Eagle

Other birds of prey he saw included a nice male Pallid Harrier, Common Kestrel and Black Kites, a species which can be seen in very large numbers in the area at the right time of year.
Black Kite
Common Kestrel
Pallid Harrier - male
Black Kite
Black Kite
Western Marsh Harrier


  1. Is that first one in flight a Black Eared Kite?

    Laurie -

    1. Laurie,

      The first bird in flight is a juvenile and thus difficult to judge if it is a Black-eared Kite or not. The adult sitting on the pole also has some resemblence to Black-eared Kite but lacks the normal streaking on the breast and probably has too dark a head (I would have liked it to be a bit paler). I have asked Viv to try to get some more photos of the birds near him as I too was interested in whether they may be Black-eared Kites.