27 Dec 2019

Three Crested Honey Buzzard – Jubail

Whilst birding Deffi Park in late November Phil Robert and I came across three different Crested Honey Buzzards. The birds appeared to be an adult female, adult male and first calendar year so there is a possibility they bred nearby but no proof and may be here for the winter only. Crested Honey Buzzard in Saudi Arabia is a scarce passage migrant and winter visitor that also occurs rarely in summer. Most records are from the Eastern province in winter and spring with additional records in the west of the country in autumn, winter and spring. The first confirmed record of CHB for Saudi Arabia was in Asir province 11 October 1994, with another bird 5–10 km south on the same day. There has been a dramatic increase in sightings of this species and whilst speculative, one reason maybe the recent availability of suitable habitat. Most records in the Arabian peninsula are from anthropogenic sites with extensive shade such as farmed areas, suburban parks, golf courses and plantations of mature watered trees (mainly ghaf Prosopis cinerea, but tall gum Eucalyptus plantations are also utilised). Deffi Park is a landscaped park in Jubail with a large number of mature trees. All three birds were using the trees and only flew when disturbed by walkers getting too close. The birds appeared to be fairly used to humans and did not move until walkers were very close. Three Crested Honey Buzzards are the largest number seen in this park but six birds have been recorded in Dhahran in previous winters about 125 kms distant from Jubail.

Crested Honey Buzzard

Crested Honey Buzzard

Crested Honey Buzzard

Crested Honey Buzzard

Crested Honey Buzzard

Crested Honey Buzzard

Crested Honey Buzzard

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