Thursday 21 February 2013

Wadi Juwa

The last major stop on last weekend's trip to the Jizan area was Wadi Juwa which is alternatively also written as Wadi Jawwah or even Wadi Giwa.

The Giwa spelling is used on the local road sign which is important as it would otherwise have been difficult for Lou Regenmorter and I to find. This is even though the turning is right next to Lake Maliki.

African grey hornbill in Wadi Juwa

Wadi Juwa is a recommended birding venue for several reasons. First and foremost it is the place in Saudi Arabia with the highest density of helmeted guineafowl. This is due to protection by the local Emir. 

Lou managed to see them at Lake Maliki but I didn't so I was keen to go there for the guineafowl alone.

Wadi Juwa

It is a rare north-south wadi in south west Saudi Arabia. Most are west-east. I don't know whether this affects the bird life but it is also apparently the best place to gabar goshawk. Dark chanting goshawk can be found here too but it has a wider distribution. Tawny eagle had been reported here as well.

Well we didn't see any goshawks clearly enough to identify though there was a goshawk- like bird over the al Giwa district at the bottom end of the wadi. It was probably one of the two goshawks but we can't claim it.

We had more success with helmeted guineafowl when a flock dropped in near where we were walking. Without their flight movement we may not have seen any.

helmeted guineafowl

And we were lucky enough to see a tawny eagle.

tawny eagle

The wadi had a high number of both Abyssinian roller and African grey hornbill as well as the ubiquitous Ruepells weaver. This is also a good place to see Arabian warbler. These are all resident. However one migrant caught my eye as we also saw two masked shrike.

While most go on to east Africa to winter, some stay in South west Saudi Arabia and Yemen for the season.

masked shrike

Together the helmeted guineafowl and tawny eagle made my Saudi list reach 270 species with 5 additions over the weekend as a whole.

A list of birds seen over the Jizan weekend compiled by Lou Regenmorter

There are 107 or 108 species depending on whether yellow-billed kite is counted as a full or sub species.

Arabian Babbler
Long Legged Buzzard
Little Green Bee-eater
Marsh Harrier
Brown Booby
Tawny Eagle
White-spectacled Bulbul
Brown Necked Raven
Ortolan Bunting
Abyssinian Roller
Zitting Cisticola
Isabelline (Daurian) Shrike,
European Coot
Masked Shrike
White-browed Coucal
Asian grey shrike (aucheri)
House Crow
African Silverbill
African Collared Dove
Common Snipe
European Turtle Dove
Arabian Golden Sparrow
Laughing Dove
House Sparrow
Namaqua Dove
Eurasian Spoonbill
Rock Dove
Greater Flamingo
Nile Valley Sunbird
Little Grebe
Barn Swallow
Helmeted Guineafowl
Alpine Swift
Sooty Gull
Pallid Swift
Grey Heron
Palm Swift
Little Egret
Caspian Tern
Purple Heron
Gull-billed Tern
Squacco Heron
Whiskered Tern
Striated Heron
White-winged Tern
Western Cattle Egret
Black Bush Robin
Western Reef Heron
Bar-tailed Godwit
African Grey Hornbill
Black-winged Stilt
Glossy Ibis
Common Greenshank
Collared Kingfisher
Common Redshank
Sociable Lapwing
Common Sandpiper
White-tailed Lapwing
Curlew Sandpiper
Black-crowned Sparrow Lark
Crested Lark
Eurasian Curlew
Desert Lark
Green Sandpiper
Hoopoe Lark
Little Stint
Singing Bush Lark
Ruddy Turnstone
Pale Crag Martin
Terek Sandpiper
Common Myna
Great White Pelican
Pink Backed Pelican
Citrine Wagtail
Tawny Pipit
White Wagtail
Crab Plover
Yellow Wagtail
Greater Sand Plover
Arabian Warbler
Grey Plover
Kentish Plover
Graceful Prinia
Lesser Sand Plover
Lesser Whitethroat
Little Ringed Plover
Sedge Warbler
Black Kite (and yellow billed kite)
Arabian Waxbill
Booted Eagle
Rueppells Weaver
Common Kestrel
Isabelline Wheatear
Greater Spotted Eagle
Pied Wheatear

Greater short toed lark



  1. Great birding performance already. 7 birds, including new five to you it was possible to add to my list, the problem with the lapwing! but the rest I can watch it at other times.

  2. Mansur, I think great white pelican may be a problem too. All the other birds were resident but you will have to wait for autumn before any more great white pelican come back.


  3. Nice Tawny Eagle, now a distant memory in Maroc (i have seen them in Kenya where they were very common) altho the odd sighting is claimed....

    Laurie -

  4. Laurie, tawny eagle is rare in Saudi Arabia but the place with the most sightings is Wadi Juwa. Its more common apparently in Yemen and the bird I saw had just flown from the direction of the border a couple kms away!