Saturday 1 November 2014

Pied cuckoo at Khawr Rori

On Thursday after work the plan was to drop in at East Khawr and then the next one down the coast which is Khawr Soly (Khawr Swali).

The second part of the plan didn't work out because when I arrived at Khawr Soly there was a lot of noise and the birds had been disturbed. A man had got his car stuck in the sand bank and friends were dragging it out.

So I moved on to the next khawr down the coast which is Khawr Rawri (Khawr Rori). Specifically I birded the north west corner which has access from the maia road.

I am very glad I moved there. I came across two pied cuckoo. This bird has an unusual migration from India to Africa passing through Oman though it is rarely seen.

In south west Saudi Arabia some stay all summer where it parasitises Arabian babbler. Some stay in Yemen too.

The first pied cuckoo

I know this bird well from Saudi Arabia. The best place to see it is in the south west at almost any altitude where the Arabian babbler density is high.

The other pied cuckoo

Other migrants were also around. Spotted flycatcher is almost everywhere I go still.

spotted flycatcher

Red-backed shrike numbers seem to be still rising at the moment.

red-backed shrike

Eight blue-cheeked bee-eater were there too. Yet I still haven't seen a single European bee-eater in Oman.

female shining sunbird

I keep seeing Shining sunbird whereas Palestine sunbird has become my new Nemesis bird.

Tracing my steps backwards, I id see one good bird before leaving Khawr Soly and it was a close view of a European roller.

European roller

Earlier still, I had enjoyed East Khawr despite no new species. Forty blue-cheeked bee-eater added a lot of colour and noise.

Blue-cheeked bee-eater stretching

Most of the bee-eaters were resting rather than feeding.

some of the blue-cheeked bee-eater

greater spotted eagle past overhead which was clearly different from the contentious one seen there the day before.

However the main attraction for me was a adult male ruff which was still mostly in breeding plumage three months later than is usual though it had lost the face warts.

Satellite male ruff

The white fronted plumage is apparently possessed by around 15% of males. Their breeding behaviour is different from the majority but this blog doesn't have space to describe it all.

Satellite male again

The only other bird that caught my attention for any length of time was a gull-billed tern. I was fooled when its bill remained open for so long. The bill shape appeared longer and more curved. It also appeared red. You live and learn. As soon as the bill closed all the characteristics of a gull-billed tern were in place.

gull-billed tern

In the next blog, I report on my day spent in the Wadi Darbat and Tawi Afair area. A rarity was seen among plenty of good birds.


  1. Pied Cuckoo - very nice! So jealous. And don't feel bad about the lack of Palestine Sunbirds - I haven't seen one Shining! Interesting that you get 4 species of Sunbird in Oman to our 1 in the UAE.

  2. Andrew, but once a bird becomes a Nemesis bird the more I must see it!