21 July 2022

Red-knobbed Coot – Abha area

Phil Roberts found the first Red-knobbed Coot Fulica cristata for Saudi Arabia at Sabkhat Al Fasl on 22 May 2015 and since then a handful of records have been recorded at Al Bahah and Abha in Saudi Arabia. Arnold Uy and I found a group of 26 birds near Abha 8 July that were  still present 12 July which was easily the largest gathering of birds seen in Saudi Arabia with all birds apparently adults. The species could be resident in Saudi Arabia and have been overlooked in the past, so it is well worth checking all Coot in the area to ensure they are not Red-knobbed Coot. Most records of the species in Arabia have come from Oman and UAE were it is a vagrant. Red-knobbed Coot differs from Common Coot F. atra in breeding season by overall slightly darker appearance with no white tips to the secondaries and a rounded projection of the loral feathering between the bill and shield and red knobs at top of frontal shield. They occur from southern and eastern Spain and northern Morocco; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda south through Rwanda, Burundi, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, west to Angola and south to South Africa as well as Madagascar.