04 September 2016

Pharaoh Eagle Owl – Bird record by Husain Alfraid

I received an e-mail from Husain Alfraid, who has an interest in photographing birds and wildlife. He mentioned that for the past couple of years a fellow birder and photographer and Husain have been closely watching a Pharaoh Eagle Owl nesting. This year there were two young but only one survived. The birds were photographed in the Jubail area and Husain has kindly allowed me to publish his photo on my website which is shown below. The Pharaoh Eagle Owl is distributed throughout much of North Africa and the Middle East, with two recognised subspecies. The subspecies Bubo ascalaphus ascalaphus occupies the northern part of the species range, being found in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, northern Egypt and Israel east to western Iraq. By contrast, the smaller, paler and sandier coloured Bubo ascalaphus desertorum can be found in the Sahara Desert south to Mauritania & Niger and from Western Sahara, east, to Sudan, as well as in Eritrea, Ethiopia and much of the Arabian Peninsula, as far south as northern Oman and as far east as southern Iraq. They are found in arid habitats, including open desert plains, rocky outcrops and broken escarpments and jabals, mountain cliffs and wadis. Most records from Saudi Arabia have been attributed to the pale B. a. desertorum but there appear to be many birds resembling the sub-species B. a. ascalaphus. The bird photographed by Husain appears to be a typical ascalaphus desertorum.