12 April 2014

Lilith Owlet near Zulfi – Bird records by Mansur Al Fahad

Mansur Al Fahad sent me an e-mail a few days ago with a number of beautiful photographs of Lilith Owlet Athene (noctua) lilith that he had taken recently near Zulfi. He also sent me a photo of the habitat where he located one of the Owlets and mentioned he had seen them in the same area the year before with the photos below showing three different Lilith Owlets. This is a species I have not seen myself in Saudi Arabia, but looking at the photos I would really like to. I would like to thank Mansur for allowing me to use his excellent photos on my website. Lilith Owlet is an Uncommon resident breeder in the Central Deserts, Hejaz, northern Hejaz and Najran as well as the Eastern Province where they are confined to broken escarpments and rocky outcrops in the desert north of Uray’irah, including As-Sarrar, Abu Hadriyah, Nariya, Hanidh, Uray’irah and Judah. The (subspecies of) birds occurring in the region are Athene (noctua) lilith which is the palest race and is a very pale sand colour. Some authorities treat this as a separate species Athene Lilith from Little Owl with the name Lilith Owlet generally being used as the English name. Its range is from Cyprus and inland Levant from Sinai to south-east Turkey, Syria and the Arabian Peninsula.