06 August 2022

Gaber Goshawk – Phil’s Fields

Whilst in Phil’s Fields near Sabya in southwest Saudi Arabia we came across a raptor sitting in some trees behind the fields. The proportions suggested the bird was a Goshawk, but there are two species that the bird could have been, Gabar Goshawk or Dark Chanting Goshawk. I have not seen Dark Chanting Goshawk in Saudi Arabia and were hoping for this species. The bird was a juvenile and the two species have rather different proportions, especially long tail versus short wings and white tips to secondaries typical of Gabar Goshawk. The species is a resident where it occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa (except the equatorial forest belt), with a small population in southwestern Arabia. In Saudi Arabia it is a scarce to rare breeding resident. It prefers acacia thickets and mixed open woodland, often near cultivated areas, such as the area near Sabya where we saw it.