14 September 2023

Ruff – Dhahran Hills

I visited the cricket and football fields in Aramco Dhahran compound in early September and located at least two Ruff Philomachus pugnax feeding on the grass. These birds were very confiding and even though I was on foot I got very close to the birds. They only flew if someone came very close and then only a few metres before landing and feeding again. The Ruff is a common migrant and uncommon winter visitor with high counts of over a thousand being recorded occasionally in the Riyadh area during the spring. In the Eastern Province they are often common on pools inland and recorded in all months but mostly in October through March. High counts of 600 at Dammam Marsh in winter 1980 and similar counts from inundated fields at Dammam Second Industrial City in late 1980’s are the biggest counts for the province with numbers normally amounting to tens rather than hundreds.