Monday, 7 January 2013

The 106 birds seen on the Jizan weekend

This is the last blog recounting Mansur Al Fahad and my visit to Jizan on December 27/28. The 106 species seen are listed at the end.

Before the list I say a few words about some of the passerines not mentioned in previous blogs.

 Nile valley sunbird

The first thing to note is that many of the birds were in breeding plumage including nile valley sunbird and Ruppells weaver.

I am not clear why this is happening.

There are many migrant African birds which return to the area in late April and May. They breed on arrival just after the the rainiest month on the plain which is April. So it looks like there are two breeding seasons. An earlier one for the resident birds and a later one for the African migrants.


I found it very difficult to identify any African stonechat whose characteristics are intermediate between Siberian stonechat (by the way eastern stonechats vary wildly between sub species) and European stonechat. I can do it with adult males in the breeding season otherwise I struggle. I would love DNA work to be done on these species. I suspect many of the categorisations won't stand up to scientific analysis.

 White wagtail
The wagtail count was interesting. The most common was white wagtail. However just like in the Riyadh area, the number of citrine wagtail seen outnumbered the number of yellow wagtail. Indeed I only saw one yellow wagtail all trip.  The incidence of citrine wagtail is one of my surprises this winter. I never picked up this phenomenon last year.

 Citrine wagtail

The warblers seen were an interesting collection. 5 species were residents or likely residents. 
  Menetries warbler

The winter migrant warblers were Eastern oliveaceous warbler, lesser whitethroat, desert lesser whitethroat and Menetries warbler. 

There are certainly many more Menetries warbler near Jizan than in central Arabia where it rarely winters. Eastern oliveacaous warbler and lesser whitethoat don't winter in central Arabia at all. The Jizan climate is obviously more suitable.


Blackstart was seen even in the coastal plain though it was more common with altitude.

Cinnamon breasted bunting (left) and African silverbill 
 The same situation occurs with cinnamon breasted bunting.

Shining sunbird which is most probably a juvenile

This ends the series of blogs on Jizan.  here are others to follow on birding in central Arabia and I hope to report back on a trip to the east coast at Jubail which is taking place this forthcoming weekend.

The full list of birds seen in the Jizan area on December 27 and 28

There are 105 or 106 species depending on whether yellow billed kite is counted independently of black kite.

S means it was a first for me in KSA
L means it was a lifer too

Rock dove
European turtle dove
African collared dove
Ferruginous duck
Red eyed dove    S,L
Little grebe
Laughing dove
Greater flamingo
Namaqua dove
Eurasian spoonbill    S
White browed coucal   S,L
Eurasian bittern    S
Alpine swift
Cattle egret
African palm swift
Squacco heron
Abyssinian roller
Grey heron
Eurasian hoopoe
Purple heron
Little green bee-eater
Great egret
African grey hornbill
Little egret
Daurian shrike
Western reef heron
Turkstan shrike
Pink backed pelican
Arabian babbler
Glossy ibis
House crow
Short toed eagle
Yellow vented bulbul
Black kite
Black crowned sparrow lark
Yellow billed kite
Crested lark
Marsh harrier
Singing bush lark   S,L
Steppe buzzard
Desert lark
Long legged buzzard
Pale crag martin
Steppe eagle
Zitting cisticola    S
Scrub warbler
Graceful prinia
Clamorous reed warbler
Eastern oliveaceous warbler
Black winged stilt
Arabian warbler
Lesser whitethroat
White tailed lapwing   S
Desert lesser whitethroat
Common ringed plover
Menetries warbler
Little ringed plover
Common myna
Kentish plover
Common snipe
Black bush robin
Bar tailed godwit
Northern wheatear
Isabelline whatear
Common redshank
Desert wheatear
Spotted redshank      S
Blue rock thrush
Common greenshank
Nile valley sunbird
Green sandpiper
Shining sunbird
Wood sandpiper
House sparrow
Marsh sandpiper
Arabian golden sparrow   S,L
Common sandpiper
African silverbill
Little stint
Ruppells weaver
White eyed gull
White wagtail
Sooty gull
Citrine wagtail
Caspian gull
Yellow wagtail
Baltic gull
Tawny pipit
Gull billed tern
Striolated bunting
Saunders tern       S,L
Cinnamon breasted bunting
Whiskered tern

White winged tern

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