24 August 2022

First site record of Black-winged Kite - Sabkhat Al Fasl

Whilst birding the Jubail area near Sabkhat Al Fasl on 19 August 2022 I came across an adult Black-winged Kite. It was sitting on a post but I did not see it before it flew and only then noticed it. It only flew a short distance and landed on a roadside lamppost where I managed to take a poor photo of it before it flew again. The bird shows the typical underwing patter of the eastern subspecies Elanus caeruleus vociferous a subspecies that occurs from Pakistan east to southern & eastern China, Indochina and the Malay Peninsula. This is not surprising, as all records from the Eastern Province of the Kingdom have been of this subspecies. This is the first record of this species for the site, but was not too surprising as they are spreading rapidly and becoming more common. The first record for the Eastern Province was only found on 17 April 2012, but since then has become more common with birds seen in almost every month and every year since the first record. A juvenile, able to fly, was found at Khafra Marsh a couple of years ago, in the presence of two adults suggesting breeding may have occurred. Rather than being a vagrant to the Eastern Province its status has changed to an uncommon visitor.