07 September 2018

Saudi Arabia’s largest flock of Lesser Flamingo – Jizan

Whilst birding the coast just south of Jizan with Phil Roberts we came across a large group of Flamingo’s. There were at least 500 Greater Flamingo and a minimum of 100 Lesser Flamingo. As the birds were continually on the move it was difficult to get an accurate count but the highest we achieved was 105. The species is a vagrant to Saudi Arabia and I know of only five pervious documented records of the species with one Jizan Harbour, 24 June 1984, amazingly an immature on the Riyadh watercourse on 10 June 1988, 50 at Jizan Bay December 1999, 10 birds flew south just north of Al Birk in May 2002 and 20 at an inland pool, 1 kilometre north on the Yemen boarder, south of Jizan 6 February 2015. Our group was at least twice the count of the next largest group making it an extremely important record. The birds were very nervous but we managed to creep along an earth embankment and sit at the end at a distance of several hundred metres and the birds remained feeding although constantly on the move. At the first disturbance they all took to the air and disappeared but we stayed photographing and watching them for more than an hour.