18 August 2022

African Openbill - Malaki (Jizan) Dam Lake

A pair of African Openbill were found in Malaki (Jizan) Dam Lake on 3 September 2021 a new species for Saudi Arabia. Numbers increased to a maximum of 18 birds in summer 2022 and as we were in the area we looked for them in July 2022. The lake was very dry compared to my previous visit, when I saw them and large numbers of cattle and camel were feeding on the lakeside with associated herders. Birds were few and far between but I eventually managed to find six birds across the lake. We moved around to that side to see if we could get closer but the birds were still distant and then all flew together and rather than coming closer flew in the other direction meaning I could only get distant flight shots. It is a widely distributed species occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa and western regions of Madagascar, where it is common to locally abundant, although it has a patchy distribution.