12 Jun 2021

Helmeted Guineafowl – Malaki Dam Lake

Whilst birding Malaki Dam Lake we came across five Helmeted Guineafowl in one location, with another two in a separate area. The Helmeted Guineafowl is a rare breeding resident in Saudi Arabia only found in the southwest of the Kingdom in the Asir Tihama up to heights of 600 metres. Birds favour rocky hillsides and wadis, with open spaces, shrubs, trees and small traditionally farmed fields where it can find food and water. Recent records of groups of birds have occurred in Wadi Juwa, Malaki Dam Lake, Abu Arish, Shuqayri and Wadi Muhayil. The species range and numbers are both suffering long-term reductions, mainly because of the removal of scrub and tree cover to generate more manageable fields for agriculture. Birds are also still occasionally shot and trapped but some protection has been afforded by a decree from a local Emir in the 1970’s and the NCWCD/SWA prohibiting the collection of eggs in 1987. Numbers appeared to be increasing slightly in the early 1990’s but unfortunately, this increase in numbers, if genuine, did not continue and numbers are again in decline putting the species in danger of extinction in Saudi Arabia. It is unclear from published data and field observations if the birds in Saudi Arabia have been introduced (many years ago) or are wild.
Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

Helmeted Guineafowl

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