05 October 2022

European Roller – Jubail

Whilst birding the Jubail area in late September I came across a juvenile European Roller sitting on a metal frame. The bird would occasionally drop down to the ground and return with what looked like large moths to eat. At one point it flew off some distance but eventually returned to the same perch where it continued feeding happily until I left. Some European Rollers are quite timid and fly well before you can get close, with others being the opposite and remain in place even when the car gets quite close (possibly tired migrants). Luckily for photography, this one fell into the second group allowing me to take a few decent photos shown below. Saudi Arabia has three species of roller on the country list. These are Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis a vagrant, Abyssinian Roller Coracias abyssinicus a breeding resident of the southwest region of the Kingdom and European Roller Coracias garrulus an uncommon to common passage migrant from March to May and again from mid-July to late September when juveniles, such as the one I saw, are also seen along with the occasional adult. Birds are regularly seen in all areas of the Eastern Province almost every year in both spring and autumn but less commonly in autumn.