1 Feb 2017

Large group of Mallards in a field – Haradh

Whilst birding at Haradh n 13 January Phil Roberts and I found 60 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos in a wet pivot irrigation field. This is easily the largest number I have seen as a single time in the Kingdom and was very unusual as the location is well over 100 kilometres from the coast. Mallard is a common resident and winter visitor in the Central Province, normally recorded from November to February. Birds of the Riyadh Region (Stagg 1994) said the species is a localised breeding resident and winter visitor. First bred on the Riyadh watercourse in 1984 and has continued to do so each year since in steadily increasing numbers. Young appear from early April onwards and by mid to late July are starting to flock. Winter visitors arrive in October and depart in May. In the main they congregate in small scattered groups along the watercourse but flocks of 300-400 have been recorded. In the Eastern Province they are an uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor that generally occurs from late August until May, with peak numbers from September to March. It occurs mainly in the coastal zone where they often frequent coastal areas and inland pools. The only regular sites are the Dammam area where birds are often seen in Tarout Bay. Sabkhat Al Fasl regularly has small flocks of up to 35 birds in the winter. Inland records have come from Dhahran Saudi Aramco camp percolation pond and Abqaiq lagoons where birds are seen each winter in numbers up to 15 birds so this record of 60 birds well inland at Haradh is an unusual occurrence.


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