26 Jun 2019

Arabian Spotted Eagle Owl - Tanoumah

Whilst in Tanoumah in May Phil Roberts and I managed to see and photograph an Arabian Spotted Eagle-owl. I initially saw the bird on some overhead wires where it stayed for a few minutes before flying off. I have seen the bird here last year on the same wires. When it flew, it did so only a short distance and landed on a nearby building where it started calling very softly. We got out of the car and moved closer getting to about twenty metres of the bird where I got some very poor IPhone recordings of the call. After about ten minutes the bird flew again and disappeared. We walked down the road the way it had flown and I saw it again perched on some more overhead telephone wires. Here we managed to walk behind large sets of building walls and get in front of the bird allowing reasonable photos to be taken at close range. The owl was not disturbed by our presence, and stayed on the wires the entire time until we left it in peach in the same location. The subspecies in Arabia is an endemic sub-species to southwestern Arabia and although not rare is difficult to locate. Birds are resident near the Red Sea coast north to Jeddah and can be seen in the Tihamah and Asir areas including Najran and Hejaz north to Taif. Other birds have been seen in a wooded wadi eight kilometres east of Wadi Juwwah in April and near Tanoumah at various times of year. The taxonomic status of form milesi, significantly isolated in southwest Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman, is uncertain. It is a rather small eagle-owl with long, erect ear-tufts and with race milesi smaller and more tawny coloured. They use a variety of habitats, from rocky outcrops in desert to woodland with sparse ground cover: particularly favours areas with mosaic of low hills, grassland and scrub; prefers semi-open woodland, and rocky hills with scattered trees and bushes; also found in thorn savanna; avoids dense forest. From sea level up to c. 2100 metres.
Arabian Spotted Eagle-owl

Arabian Spotted Eagle-owl

Arabian Spotted Eagle-owl

Arabian Spotted Eagle-owl

Arabian Spotted Eagle-owl



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