04 December 2023

Rosy Starlings – Al-Hambas Park, Either

Whilst birding Al-Hambas Park, near Either Mangroves at lunchtime on 25 November I saw two Rosy Starlings flying with a group of Common Myna. The birds did not settle in view and we lost the birds from sight. After walking around looking for the Common Myna flock we located the birds sitting on a tower building. Here we saw two adult birds and a sub-adult. The next day we went back at first light to try to get better photos and saw the birds with the Common Myna flock feeding on the grass and bathing in a small pool caused by the irrigation system. We saw all three birds again in better light and at closer range than the day previous. This was the first time I have seen the species in Saudi Arabia, and was my 400 species seen in the Kingdom, so I was very happy with the views. Rosy Starling breeds from Greece and the Black Sea to Iran and Kazakhstan and winters 3,000 km southeast in India and Sri Lanka. In Saudi Arabia it has a status as a rare passage migrant & scarce winter visitor. It is mainly seen in the north and west of the Kingdom where it favours gardens, parks, agricultural sites, such as ploughed fields and manure heaps, rubbish dumps and wastewater treatment areas. They feed mainly on eats insects, fruit, seed and nectar, with a penchant for grasshoppers. Many records in Saudi Arabia are of 2–6 birds with the largest group recorded being 40 near Riyadh and is often associated with Common Starling or Common Myna.