Wednesday 3 September 2014

Round the block in Muscat

I arrived in Muscat at 3am on August 31st. After sleep and before my onward flight to Salalah I only had free time to bird round the block by my hotel. However it was worthwhile.

male purple sunbird

My prize sighting was a male purple sunbird. This was a lifer for me and also a bird I can't see in Salalah where I am now working.

another angle on the purple sunbird

It was in eclipse plumage which means yellow underneath with a vertical purple line through its throat.

two Indian silverbill

Although I have seen many Indian silverbill, this is also a bird which can't be seen in Salalah where it is replaced by African silverbill.

immature laughing dove with house sparrow

Surprisingly I have not seen any house sparrow in Salalah so it is possible that seeing them in Muscat was also important at least for listing purposes.

adult laughing dove

Like most Middle Eastern cities laughing dove is very common.

common myna

Similarly common myna is in virtually every Middle Eastern coastal city these days (and some inland ones too).

white spectacled bulbul

I managed to find a heavily eutrophic pool with some trees near-by which seemed to be the centre of some bulbul activity (and also housed a green sandpiper).

I spotted "three and a half"" species of bulbul here. Not only were white-eared bulbul, white-spectacled bulbul and red-vented bulbul present but so was a hybrid "orange vented bulbul".

white eared bulbul

"Orange vented bulbul" is a hybrid between red vented bulbul and white spectacled bulbul.  I have seen this hybrid before in Riyadh.

hybrid red vented x white spectacled bulbul

This one was spending time with a pure red-vented bulbul.

local pool

Only white spectacled bulbul can be found in Salalah so again these were useful finds.

little green bee-eater

The other birds here were little green bee-eater and feral pigeon making a grand total of 11 species.

Within 2 days I have seen another 30 species in Salalah. I will blog about this next.


  1. Do you have any intention of heading to Socotra since you are (kinda) in the region?

  2. Caithlin, I have been interested in Socotra for sometime. I looked at getting there from Saudi Arabia but every option had at least one night in Sanaa which I dont believe is safe. I keep looking. Rob