16 May 2023

Crested Honey Buzzard– Dhahran Hills

A maximum of five wintering Crested Honey Buzzards have spent the winter of 2022-2023 in Dhahran with at least one bird still being present into May, which I managed to photograph after a few sightings but no pictures. There has been a steady increase in records since 2000 and particularly since 2009 with birds recorded in every month of the year (save August) and records peaking during the winter months (January–March). Smaller peaks also occur in April and October–November dates that fit well with the CHB’s migration period in Kazakhstan (where birds occur late April–mid June and late August–mid October, peaking September). The status, of Crested Honey Buzzard in Saudi Arabia is a scarce passage migrant and winter visitor that also occurs rarely in summer, although records from the western region of the Kingdom suggest breeding may be taking place there. Most records are from the Eastern province in winter and spring with additional records in the west of the country in summer, autumn, winter and spring. The first confirmed record of CHB for Saudi Arabia was in Asir province 11 October 1994, with another bird 5–10 km south on the same day.