02 September 2023

Large numbers of Slender-billed Gulls – Jubail

In late August, as was the case in September last year, large numbers of Slender-billed Gulls were seen in the Jubail area. Over 2000 birds were seen on the area of flooded sabkha I birdwatch which is a very high number. Most birds were adults although a few first-year birds were also present. The species does not breed in Saudi Arabia but must do somewhere close by based on these numbers. This species is partially migratory, with birds wintering around the Arabian Peninsula but others staying year around. Its status in Saudi Arabia is a common year-round visitor but is almost entirely found on the coasts where it prefers shallow coastal waters and intertidal areas. Birds are gregarious and almost always found in groups. Although almost all large groups of gulls contained only Slender-billed Gull, some groups also had the occasional Caspian Tern sitting with them, with the number of this species building through September to reach several hundred.