17 March 2014

Eastern Black-headed Wagtails – Dhahran Hills

Whilst birding the ‘patch’ yesterday I saw a few Yellow Wagtails flying over and then later a large flock of about thirty birds feeding around the edge of the settling pond. This flock contained mainly Eastern Black-headed Wagtails Motacilla flava ‘melanogrisea’ an eastern variant of the Black-headed Wagtail subspecies, which it closely resembles. The main difference is the white moustacial stripe below the black head, that is often difficult to see. Below are photographs of three different birds and these are the first decent photographs I have managed to take of this subspecies so I was quite pleased with my efforts. Also in the flock were two Grey-headed Wagtails and a Blue-headed Wagtail as well as five White Wagtails. Eastern Black-headed Wagtails are an uncommon passage migrant in the Eastern Part of Saudi Arabia and are mostly seen in mixed wagtail flocks like the one these birds were in. Black-headed Wagtail is the commonest subspecies of Yellow Wagtail occurring in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom and will become very common over the next few weeks.