06 December 2023

Wattled Starlings – Al-Hambas Park, Either

We birded Al-Hambas Park, Either 25 & 26 November 2023 as five Wattled Starling Creatophora cinereal had been found there 22-24 February 2023 and were the first records for the Kingdom with another adult Aqua Park, Jubail 6 May. Although the birds had not been seen since 24 February, very few people birdwatch in Saudi Arabia and we thought there was a very small chance they could still be around or alternatively had departed and returned for a second winter. We visited the park in 25 November, at around mid-day and did not see the Wattled Starlings but returned the following morning and located two birds, a male and female, amongst the Common Myna. The birds were feeding and bathing in the water on the grass, often in company of the three Rosy Starlings. Wattled Starling is a nomadic resident bird in eastern and southern Africa that appears to be extending its range into West Africa and has also occurred in Arabia, Madagascar, and Seychelles. This was the third new species I saw in three days, on my three day visit to the southwest, so a really good trip al around.