02 December 2022

Juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle - Jubail

Whilst birding in the Jubail area in late November we came across a Juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagle. We counted ten Great Spotted Eagle, either sitting on the power masts or in the reeds, with a single, much scarcer Eastern Imperial Eagle also noted. The Eastern Imperial Eagle was seen sitting on a mast but flew before we got near to it but luckily only across the track to the next pylon. I maneuvered the car to try to get the light in a good position for photography, but the bird again flew this time directly over the car. It was so close in flight that most of my photos only captured parts of the bird but luckily one (uncropped photo) had all the bird in the frame. It they circled around allowing some more distant photos to be taken in flight. The Eastern Imperial Eagle is an uncommon winter visitor to Saudi Arabia with most records coming from the north of the country where they are generally seen inland rather than near the coast. The species breeds from Eastern Europe across Asia to China and winters in the Middle East, east Africa south to Tanzania, the Arabian Peninsula, India, and from Thailand to Korea. Currently Eastern Imperial Eagle is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List as it has a small global population and is likely to be undergoing continuing declines, primarily as a result of habitat loss and degradation, adult mortality through persecution and collisions with power lines and prey depletion. The status in Saudi Arabia appears to be more or less stable, however.