22 April 2014

A low elevation record of Bruce’s Green Pigeon – Wadi Juwwah

Wadi Juwwah (16 56.75N, 43 01.80E) is alternatively written as Wadi Jawa or even Wadi Giwa and is a rare north-south wadi in south-west Saudi Arabia as most of the wadis are west-east. The wadi has one of the highest diversities of breeding species known in Arabia including Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris although we did not see this species on this trip. It lies at an altitude of 100-300 metres in the foothills east of Abu Arish and south of al-Arida, inland from Jizan. It consists of a sandy and clay bed surrounded by often steep volcanic rocky slopes. Scattered Dobera and Ficus trees dominate the landscape and there are many remnant patches of Acacia and Salvadora scrub. The rocky outcrops and bordering slopes are only sparsely vegetated with Acacia and succulents but can have a surprising cover of grasses after heavy rain. The wadi is densely populated and most of it is cultivated with sorghum and millet. We bird-watched the area on 5 April and saw Abyssinian Rollers, Nile Valley Sunbirds, six Black Bush Robins, Ruppell’s Weavers, Arabian Babblers, Laughing Doves, Namaqua Doves, one Desert Lark and a Graceful Prinia. A pair of Gabar Goshawk was seen flying around for several minutes over the wadi and a few Green Bee-eaters, three Masked Shrikes and White-spectacled Bulbuls were also seen. The most interesting sighting was a Bruce’s Green Pigeon in a tree in the wadi which is below the general elevation levels recorded for the species of 500-2400 metres. I have previously regarded this species as a high elevation bird but this record clearly shows this assumption to be incorrect. They may move to lower elevations in the winter months like many other high elevation species.
Bruce's Green Pigeon
Abyssinian Roller