16 December 2022

Steppe Gulls - Uqair

Whilst birding Uqair in December we saw a few Steppe Gulls on the beach. Although this species is common it is not so often close views are obtained of them on the ground, so this sighting allowed some close photos to be taken. Steppe Gull barabensis, is a taxon making up approximately 90% of the large white-headed gulls in Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. These birds leave their steppe breeding grounds in August, and are thought to migrate along the coast of the Caspian Sea, then cross northwest Iran, through the Tigris valley and on to the Arabian Gulf. They start appearing in the Jubail, Dhahran and Uqair areas from mid-August and build in number through the winter. It is a common passage migrant and very common winter visitor from mid-August to April.