04 November 2014

Savi's Warbler trapped and ringed - Sabkhat Al Fasl

Last Friday Nicole and I trapped and ringed our second Savi’s Warbler of the autumn at Sabkhat Al Fasl. This is quite a late date for the species in Saudi Arabia where most autumn records occur in September. Up until recently the status of Savi’s Warbler was thought to be a rare passage migrant at Sabkhat Al Fasl (Symens & Suhaibani 1996), but records from the site over 2014 have indicated that it is an uncommon passage migrant from late February until May and scarce from August to October. Some birds stay in the same area for a few weeks in spring but there are no indications of birds breeding. During ringing at the site this year we have trapped and ringed a single bird in the spring on 18 April between a small reed patch and the main reedbeds and another two in the autumn on 26 September and 24 October in the main reed beds. The subspecies of Savi’s Warbler that occurs in the region is Locustella luscinoides fusca which is more olive brown with paler under-parts and more obvious white tips to the under-tail coverts than the nominate European form L l luscinodes making it look slightly different and more like a River Warbler. L l fusca breeds in Turkey & Jordon eastwards to central Asia including north and south Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, north-east Iran and probably north-west Afghanistan. They winter in north-east Africa principally in Sudan & Ethiopia.