30 May 2015

Red-knobbed Coot a first for Saudi Arabia – Bird record by Phil Roberts

Phil Roberts found a Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata at Sabkhat Al Fasl on 22 May 2015. The bird was located along the side of the main track going to the power station in one of the bays. This is a new species for Saudi Arabia although not one that was completely unexpected. Records have occurred elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula with a single record of a long staying vagrant in the United Arab Emirates where an adult was seen at Al Warsan Lakes (Wimpey Pits) from 14 June 2002 until 10 June 2004 at least. Most records have come from Oman were again it is a vagrant, but here seven records have occurred and birds bred at West Khawr in the summer of 2012. Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar currently have no records of the species. Red-knobbed Coot differs from Common Coot F. atra in breeding season by overall slightly darker appearance with no white tips to the secondaries and a rounded projection of the loral feathering between the bill and shield and red knobs at top of frontal shield. They occur from southern and eastern Spain and northern Morocco; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda south through Rwanda, Burundi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, west to Angola and south to South Africa as well as Madagascar. Phil sent me a photograph of the bird he managed to take and has kindly allowed me to use on my website that is shown below.
Red-knobbed Coot