04 December 2015

Male Hen Harrier near Tabuk – Bird record by Viv Wilson

Viv Wilson sent me a photograph of an adult male Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus he took near Tabuk 20 November 2015 that is shown below. The Hen Harrier is a scarce passage migrant and winter visitor with more birds seen in the north-west than anywhere else in the Kingdom. In the Riyadh & Central Arabia areas the Birds of the Riyadh Region (Stagg 1994) states the species is a vagrant with only four sightings in March, April, September and November. With only four additional records that I know of from the area of one juvenile at Al Safi Dairy Farm on 19 October 2000, one adult female on the same site 25 January 2001, a male in late march 1992 at Wadi Hanifah and a male in September 1993 over Dywidag compound. Elsewhere it is a rare autumn visitor to the southwest and Jeddah areas in winter and spring. In the Eastern Province it is a scarce migrant and winter visitor from October to April but I have only seen one adult male in winter on year. Females may well be being overlooked due to their similarity to other ringtail harriers whereas males are quite distinct and are relatively easily identified.