26 November 2020

Crested Honey Buzzards in Deffi Park - Jubail

Whilst birding Deffi Park in November Phil Robert and I came across three different Crested Honey Buzzards although only one is shown below. 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. This is the second consecutive year three Crested Honey Buzzards have been seen in this park but six birds have been recorded in Dhahran in previous winters about 125 kms distant from Jubail.