03 December 2013

Red-tailed Wheatear – Dhahran Hills

Phil found a Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe chrysopygia a few days ago on the same pile of rocks on the camp as the one last year used. It was quite timid and did not allow close approach but I did managed to get a few photos the next day of the bird, but the evening light was poor. This is only the second Red-tailed Wheatear I have seen on the patch and I hope this one will spend the winter in the same area. Red-tailed Wheatear is a scarce winter visitor to Saudi Arabia where they have been recorded in all areas of the country, including the Empty Quarter. The same status is true for them in the Eastern Province where birds occur from late September until early April, especially in the vicinity of jebals, other rocky outcrops, dry scrub areas and semi-desert. It breeds in an area from north-east Turkey through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and western Pakistan while it winters to the south from southern Iraq, across the Arabian Peninsula, Iran, eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan and north-west India. Although they breed from 1200 – 4000 metres above sea level they winter down to sea level.