04 January 2014

Cinereous Vulture (between Zulfi & Hafr Al Batin) – Bird records by Mansur Al Fahad

Three weeks ago, Mansur’s birder friend Mohammed Al Mohatresh watched a Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus with a group of Eagles between Zulfi and Hafr Al Batin close to the road. Mansur went to try to see it a few days later but did not find it. Two weeks ago he called Mansur and told him there was another bird 75 kilometres north of Zulfi that Mansur was able to see and take photographs of (see below pictures). Mansur has kindly allowed me to use his photographs on my website the copyright of which remains with Mansur. Last week Mohammed saw a picture of a bird on a Twitter account on the internet and immediately contacted the owner of the picture. He made a great effort to try to save the bird as the man told him it was wounded and could not fly. Mohammed went directly from Zulfi to northern Qassim to take the bird and contacted Dr. Mohammed Shobraq and Abdullah Alsuhaibani (working at the Center for Wildlife) to see if they could look after the bird and try to rehabilitate it. Muhammad went to Riyadh in the morning after taking a day off work and gave the bird to Mansur who delivered it to the Center for Wildlife for treatment. This is an excellent example of local birdwatchers making a difference in a positive way to the birds in the Kingdom and I congratulate them both on their effort and hard work.

Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus is a rare winter visitor to the northern Hejaz and Central Arabia that has been recorded once in Jeddah and once in the Eastern Province on the Dibdibah 18 & 19 December 1986. As a result of the status of the species it is possible/probable the birds all refer to a single individual, as the distance between the first and second sightings was about 100 kilometres to the west, and the distance from the second to the third sighting was about 80 kilometres to the north.