11 September 2022

Black-winged Kite in the southwest

Whilst birding the southwest this summer I found two Black-winged Kite. One in Phil’s Fields near Sabya and another at Wadi Jizan Lake. I managed to get a couple of fairly poor photos of them but the one in flight shows the underwing pattern of Elanus caeruleus caeruleus. This is the subspecies that was thought to occur in this region as it occurs in the southwest Iberian Peninsula, most of Africa and Southwest Arabia. This is an uncommon visitor to the country that appears to be coming more common in recent years with birds seen in every month and juveniles also seen in recent years, in Eastern, Central and southwest regions, suggesting breeding. All birds seen in the north and Eastern Province of the Kingdom have been Elanus caeruleus vociferous as they had very dark under-wing markings on the secondaries a subspecies that occurs from Pakistan east to southern & eastern China, Indochina and the Malay Peninsula. These two subspecies of Black-winged Kite have been proposed to be elevated to full species and it has also been suggested that Elanus kites merit their own family, Elanidae.