Monday, 13 February 2012

Return to Al Waha compound

Al Waha residential compound was the first place in Riyadh where I saw red-vented bulbul back in October. It also had a varied bird life worth of another call. So on Friday I went back.

red-vented bulbul

Red-vented bulbul is the least common of the three bulbul species found in the Riyadh area.  On the previous visit, I had seen only one red-vented bulbul and it was associating with the far more numerous white-cheeked bulbul

second red-vented bulbul

This time I saw three and two of them were on the same tree. Breeding at Al Waha would not surprise me.


The red-vented bulbul, very helpfully, perched on a tree with no leaves at one stage. At the same moment a single hypocolius was on the same tree.

part of Al Waha compound

The bulbuls were not the only bird which seemed to be pairing off. The resident black bush robin were also in pairs.

two black bush robin

Al Waha has a very high density of collared dove. Riyadh is one of the few places in the world where Eurasian collared dove and African collared dove co-exist in significant numbers for both species.

collared dove

I find it very difficult to separate them. I thought the above bird was African collared dove because I have read that young ones often have a grey head and some grey on the upper breast. I posted this picture on bird forum (as a representative of those seen at Al Waha) and only one person ventured his view on the identification. He also thinks it is an African collared dove.

several collared dove

They had been nesting when I visited in October and I saw one on a nest during this visit too. I wonder if they breed all the time in this environment?

young collared dove

One young bird allowed so close approach that I realised it couldn't fly yet. 

lurking kestrel

There were also a small number of laughing dove present in the compound. With all these doves it was no surprise that a kestrel was lurking around ready to pounce.

Other birds including common myna and plenty of house sparrow. There were at least two warblers as well but they kept to the safety of  a tree in a private garden that I couldn't approach.

My friends from the compound told me that the hoopoe I had seen on the previous visit was still around but he evaded me this time.

male ornamental jungle fowl

Finally there were two ornamental chickens (or jungle fowl) scratching around near the front gate. There appear to be different breeds. No one in the compound knows where there came from including the management.

female ornamental jungle fowl

Two of the very large compounds near-by keep ornamental birds on their lawns and my guess is that somehow these two have escaped. 

Over the years, these compounds are being occupied by more and more exotic birds which have escaped. Red-vented bulbul in the city is almost certain to be in that category. 

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