30 December 2015

Pharaoh Eagle Owl near Tabuk – Bird records by Viv Wilson

Whilst birding near Tabuk, Viv Wilson found a Pharaoh Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus sitting in a tree. Interestingly Lou Regenmorter also saw a Pharaoh Eagle Owl sitting in a tree in a similar area a few years earlier. The species is a scarce but widespread breeding resident from areas including the Rub’ al-Khali (Empty Quarter), Abqaiq, Hufuf, northern Hejaz, Tabuk, Hail, Riyadh and northern areas such as Harrat al Harrah Reserve. It also appears to be a winter visitor in small numbers to Northern, Eastern and Central areas of Saudi Arabia.  The bird shows all the important features of Pharaoh Eagle Owl of mottled tawny upperparts and head; creamy-white underparts with light black streaks on upper-breast and barred but unstreaked lower-breast, belly and flanks; good dark frame/boarder to the facial disk; small ear tuffs.