18 June 2016

Pharaoh Eagle Owl near Jubail – Bird records by Phil Roberts

Whilst birding near Jubail Phil found a juvenile Pharaoh Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus sitting on a track. The bird flew along the track and eventually landed right next to Phil’s car where it was too close to focus his camera on at one stage. Presumably as this is quite a young juvenile the birds must breed somewhere close by? 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. Phil's photos are shown below for which he has kindly given me permission to use.