past records in Riyadh

Below is an account of Ton Tarrant’s birding in Saudi Arabia 

during 1992-1993

It is extracted from a larger trip report he made including UAE as well and which I have removed for clarity. He lived in Riyadh and his local patch then was very similar to mine now. I am indebted to him and his account to help me with my birding today.




A second more recent report (but only for one week's birding in the month of March) of the Riyadh area can be found at http://www.osme.org/tripreports/qatar1.shtml   This also contains some very useful observations.  
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Tom Tarrant, Lot 4 Dayboro Rd, Rush Creek, Dayboro, Queensland 4521, Australia; aviceda@sunshine.net.au

During the period of early-March 1992 to early-October 1993 I was employed as a Mapping Technician with a company working with the Saudi Arabian Military in Riyadh, in the Central Province of that country.


I was housed 30 kms to the north of the city, on a compound run by a German construction company, Dywidag SA Ltd. This was fortunate as most of the companies personnel were accommodated on a different compound much closer to the city-centre (which I was later to discover was much less attractive to bird-life). Not knowing what to expect of the avifauna of the country was quite exciting at first but began to wane when on arrival when I was informed that the Holy Month of Ramadan had just commenced, and I along with everyone else would be forbidden from eating or drinking in public for one month.


Four days later whilst awaiting my security pass I noticed small birds in the car park outside my quarters. Outside, several Wheatears were perched on the main compound wall and on the ground. One was definitely a Northern, the other was a male Pied, an d was that bird an Isabelline? This was more like it, two new birds in as many minutes. The trend was set to continue, on a compound that a couple of days before I had thought to contain nothing more than Collared Doves and House Sparrows, I soon realised was full of recently-arrived migrants.

From this point on I attempted to tour the compound (about one square kilometre in area) at least once during every 24 hours, and attempt to record all the species present. As I was required to work 8 hour shifts, the time of this varied between early morning to late afternoon. The compound had been planted with Australian Eucalyptus and Casuarina trees in the mid-seventies and was watered using the compounds treated waste water. Another species which was very important to migrant birds was the Tamarisk. Fortunately, quite a few bushes flourished on the compound.

One weekend morning I was reading a book at my writing desk, when I noticed a flash of black through the window, and surmised at the presence in Arabia of Blackbird (Turdus merula). I saw the bird under a tamarisk bush and noticed its long black and white tail.....Black Bushchat! I had read of their legendary scarcity in Israel and assumed that their status here would be similar. This bird is one of the most cosmopolitan native birds in the Riyadh area and was present on the compound throughout the period of my stay. Birds arriving on the compound in the next couple of months included Blue-cheeked and European Bee-eater, Olive-backed Pipit, White-throated Robin, Woodchat, Masked, Red-backed, Isabelline and Lesser Grey Shrikes, Rufous Bushchat, Nightingale, Wryneck and many Willow Warblers.

Unfortunately during my stay I was restricted to travel within the 'Riyadh Area' which loosely meant I was forbidden to go further than 50 kms from the city without a letter of permission. Looking back, this was probably beneficial as I could concentrate on a couple of 'local patches' and not go gallivanting off searching for 'speciality' birds, but it had a downside as I never managed to catch up with any Sandgrouse (Pterocles sp) or Cream-coloured Courser (Cursorius cursor)!

As with most new areas I visit I try to contact local birders and get out with them, and I was not disappointed when introduced to a birder Dr 'Dai' James who gave me a guided tour of his favourite patch at Wadi Hanifah. He has spent over a decade in the country and amassed a mine of information about the area. Wadi Hanifah is a dried-up river bed fed by all the waste water of Riyadh city and has developed into a major breeding site for water-birds and species associated with 'riverine' vegetation. The birding sites commence at an area known as the 'Blood-pools' at Mansooriyah, once used as an abattoir but currently being fenced-off for some development. Despite it's awful smell the area is a good wintering site for large raptors such as Spotted Eagle, Hypocolius, and a breeding site for Ruepell's Weaver.


About 10 kms further down the wadi near the town of El Hair there is a large dam, which is breeding site for Ferruginous Duck and Purple Heron and in winter often has flocks of Teal, Shoveller and Pintail. Past the town is a reserve designated by the Commission for Wildlife. On my first visit a local was using the 'no hunting or shooting, violators will be severely punished' sign as a rest for his rifle! 


A main road passes through this reserve and comes very close to Wadi Hanifah and is an excellent area of acacia woodland and reed-beds. It is often called the 'Acacia Grove' by expats but can be very busy at weekends with locals having picnics. The road follows the wadi for several kilometres and has lush vegetation, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Squacco, Grey and Purple Heron and Little Egret have all be known to breed here. In 1992 five Black Storks were resident. Occasional rarities like Citrine Wagtail, Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirrugus) and White-breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) have all been recorded in this area. The water ends up in an area known to expats as the 'Blue Lagoons' (Unfortunately, its exact location is suppressed, due to erosion of the surrounding dunes by 4-wheel drive owners, and it is owned by a wealthy local who uses the water to irrigate fields of cultivation.).


During April 1992, I was introduced to a couple of British expats, who explained that they had seen a large owl, in an escarpment at a place called Thumamah approximately 50 kms towards Majmah. Would I like to spend Friday (the Moslem weekend is Thursday and Friday) looking for it? Silly question! We set off early in the morning successfully passing through a control checkpoint near the entrance. However the gate itself was another matter: during the Gulf-War the Americans had used the airfield at Thumamah, and since they had left, nobody seemed to have informed the guards of this, so we endeavoured to explain in the worse ever spoken Arabic that we had business inside. This seemed to antagonise the armed guards further, so I changed tact and pointed to my Field-Guide, which, incredibly, did the trick, and we found ourselves inside! (This situation was to arise many times in the next 18 months, and despite later obtaining an official letter admitting me to Thumamah, many hours of fun were had and new words like marmor (forbidden), mafi kwais (not good) and mafi inglis (no English spoken) were learned).

We arrived at the designated site in the escarpment and braving the hordes of blow-flies entered a deep fissure. To my surprise, amongst the many feral pigeons, a large owl flew up in front of me and peered down from a nearby cliff-face, my first Eagle-Owl, a handsome bird of the desert race 'ascalaphus' and its mate close by. After this wonderful day, I really fell for this area, a rocky escarpment with springs, supplying the nearby dairy-farm and settlements with water and lush vegetation ideal for wildlife. Also situated here was the former King Khaled's private zoo, which after his death had been transformed into a breeding centre for the re-introduction of the Arabian Oryx, Sand and Mountain Gazelle with the cooperation of staff from Regent's Park Zoo in London and known as King Khaled Wildlife Research Centre (KKWRC). Later I was to become good friends of the staff here and at the Al Marais Dairy-Farm, who were very willing to pass on interesting tit-bits of information about the wildlife of the area and gave me great hospitality during my weekend visits.

The summer of 1992 was, as expected, scorching-hot, reaching temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius on occasions, and day-time birding was suspended until late-August (In hindsight a grave mistake as the summer is still excellent for birding here....many species hide in the sparse shade and allow very close approach.....well worth the discomfort, I found this to my surprise the following year). The first returning migrants were seen around mid-August, and I recommenced my daily tours of Dywidag compound, discovering Thrush Nightingale, Corncrake and many warbler species including a probable Blyth's Reed-Warbler. Earlier in the Spring, I purchased a semi-professional video-camera and put it to good use filming many of the birds on the compound. The winter was a quiet time, and interesting birds were a little few and far-between, although I did catch up on Hypocolius, which I had been very keen to see. Unfortunately, whenever I went to Mansooriyah to film or photograph them the weather seemed to change from sunny blue-sky to overcast and wet!

In late January, I took a couple of trips to Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah and saw two new species of Wheatear, Red-tailed and Hooded, but things really began to get interesting in March during Ramadan. The first birds to turn up at Dywidag were Wryneck and Rufous Bushchat and several White-tailed Plover were at Thumamah Dairy-Farm.

An American colleague invited me to spend the 'Eid' holiday with a friend of his at Tabuk at the end of the month, so we took an internal flight there and spent a day on the swampy outskirts of town, where we saw some interesting species such as Jack Snipe, Spur-winged Plover and many Red-rumped Swallow. At the weekend we joined some 'expats' on a diving trip to the Red Sea coast near Duba and camped on the beach. Here there is hardly any vegetation, and migrants were constantly passing us on their way north: many Hoopoes, Black-eared Wheatear, and northern duck species were recorded and good views of Sooty, White-eyed and Great Black-headed Gulls obtained, and a lone Brown Booby was seen.

In early April 1993, I was introduced to another expat birder, Dr Tim Wacher who had just commenced employment with KKWRC. He explained that he had been exploring the Thumamah area and had recently photographed nesting Dunn's Lark in a 'set-aside' enclosure on the Research-Centre. Having visited the area frequently over the past year, I was quite surprised to see a pair with well-developed young, the first I had ever seen! The following weekend we had a similar experience just outside this enclosure with Bar-tailed Desert Lark, again with well-developed young. 


The idea of setting aside an area and excluding grazing animals seemed to be a great success as several other species, such as Hoopoe Lark and Black-crowned Finch-Lark, were also seen displaying there, and a visiting botanist had counted over one hundred plant species during her stay.


July arrived with a couple of surprises: a flock of Pale Rock Sparrow was present at Thumamah Dairy-Farm for most of the month, and a couple of pairs of Streaked Scrub Warbler were heard singing near the escarpment there. By mid-August returning migrants were common, and on the 13th I had a wonderful day and recorded Thick-billed Lark, Arabian Babbler and an incredible 'fall' of Basra Reed Warblers, which I managed to record on video-film. Many hundreds of birds were present in the Thumamah area and were easily located by their strange 'corncrake'-like calls. This period was probably the most exciting since I arrived in the country, and the following weekend was equally good as we managed to find at least 4 Rose-coloured Starlings and 2 obliging Little Bittern, which I managed to film at close-quarters.

Unfortunately, this period was also one of serious instability from an employment point of view, and as I had not received any salary since the end of May, I was forced to begin searching for an alternative job, which I obtained in Scotland in October. This was a sad end to a period which I found extremely interesting and I hope that my records will add to the knowledge of a little known place. However I certainly wish to return and also visit the Asir Mountains (which I had cancelled twice due to the uncertainty) and continue filming the wildlife of the area.

I would like to express my gratitude to all those that made my stay in Saudi Arabia and the UAE a rewarding one, including James and the staff at the Al Marai Dairy-Farm for all the breakfasts and coffee, Dai James, Peter Symens, Erik Hirschfeld and Colin Richardson for all their advice. Nigel Brown, Tim Wacher, Charlie, Bill and the staff at KKWRC for all their hospitality, and the people of all nationalities at Dywidag Compound who never seemed to complain whenever they saw me stalking around their gardens complete with camera and binoculars at very strange hours!


SYSTEMATIC LIST
Birds with an asterisk * probably breeding.
The numbers in parentheses indicate number of days during period that a particular species was seen (i.e. if House Sparrow was seen every day for the duration of the tour, the number in parentheses should be (603), however there were so many of this species that they weren't counted and so I have annotated them (TN)...... too numerous!)
  1. Little Grebe, Tachybaptus ruficollis *
    Seen occasionally along Wadi Hanifah, probably breeding at the Dam near El Hair. (5)

  2. Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster
    A single was seen offshore near Duba, on the northern Red Sea Coast in March 93.

  3. Eastern White Pelican, Pelecanus onocrotalus 
    Several birds were present near the area known as the 'Blue Lagoons' through most of 92, although only one bird was recorded by the observer in Jan 93. (1)

  4. Little Egret, Egretta garzetta *
    Common along Wadi Hanifah and occasionally seen at Thumamah throughout period. (18)

  5. Grey Heron, Ardea cinerea *
     Common along Wadi Hanifah and infrequently seen at Thumamah throughout period. 10 birds flying north along Red Sea Coast near Duba in late March 93. (19)

  6. Purple Heron, Ardea purpurea *
    Common breeding species at Wadi Hanifah and infrequently seen at Thumamah. (17) 



  7. Great White Egret, 
    Egretta alba Uncommon and infrequent at Wadi Hanifah.

  8. Cattle Egret, Ardeola ibis
    Small flocks not uncommon at Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah, singles occasionally encountered on Dywidag Compound. 


  9. Squacco Heron, Ardeola ralloides *
    Fairly common along Wadi Hanifah and small flocks infrequently at Thumamah Dairy-Farm (DF) throughout period. (14)

  10. Little Bittern, Ixobrychus minutus *
    Common along Wadi Hanifah, young seen there in August 1992. An adult and immature were seen and video-filmed on southbound migration at Thumamah DF in late August 93. (9)

  11. Striated Heron, Butorides striatus
    Only seen on northern Red Sea Coast near Duba in March 93.

  12. Black-crowned Night-Heron , Nycticorax nycticorax *
    Recorded only once by observer, but informed that a colony was present along Wadi Hanifah in 92. (1)

  13. Black Stork, Ciconia nigra
    Five birds were recorded from about September 92 to March 93 along Wadi Hanifah. (2)

  14. White Stork, Ciconia ciconia
    Four birds were seen overflying the 'Blue Lagoons' area in late March 93. (1)

  15. Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus
    Small flocks were seen throughout period at Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah. (9)

  16. White Spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia
    Seen only once in Riyadh area, at 'Blue Lagoons' in late March 92.

  17. Greater Flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber
    Birds were present at 'Blue Lagoons' in 1992.

  18. Eurasian Wigeon, Anas penelope
    A winter visitor to the Riyadh area, seen at the Dam near El Hair in December 92.

  19. Gadwall, Anas strepera
    Seen only once in the Riyadh area in March 93 at Dam near El Hair. (1)

  20. Green winged Teal, Anas crecca
    Winter visitor to Riyadh area, fairly good numbers at dam near El Hair, and small numbers at Thumamah Sept-March. Also flying north along Red Sea Coast near Duba in March 93. (11)

  21. Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
    Common throughout period at Wadi Hanifah and occasionally at Thumamah. Also on outskirts of Tabuk Northern Province in late March 93. (20)

  22. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
    Seen in Riyadh area only at Dam near El Hair in Dec 92, and flying north along Red Sea coast near Duba in late March 93. (1)

  23. Garganey, Anas querquedula
    Recorded only once in Riyadh area at Dam near El Hair in late March 92. (1)

  24. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
    Fairly common winter visitor to Riyadh area at Dam near El Hair, also seen flying north along Red Sea coast near Duba in late March 93. (7)


  25. Ferruginous Duck, Aythya nyroca *
    small numbers present throughout period at Dam near El Hair, probably resident and breeding. (8)

  26. Tufted Duck, Aythya fuligula
    Seen once only at Dam near El Hair in late March 92. (1)

  27. Black Kite, Milvus migrans
    Uncommon visitor to the Riyadh area, small numbers present at Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah Mar-Sept 92, but not present in 1993, also seen at Tabuk March 93. (7)

  28. Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus *
    Only seen in Thumamah area, where up to six were seen at any one time. Probably breed in the escarpment area there, juveniles were recorded in August 93. (11)

  29. Marsh Harrier, Circus aeruginosus
    Probably commonest harrier in Riyadh area, seen in most months except June and July, possibly breed along Wadi Hanifah, but no proof seen. Also seen on marshy outskirts of Tabuk, and flying north along Red Sea Coast near Duba late March 93. (22)

  30. Hen Harrier, Circus cyaneus
    Only seen twice in Riyadh area, males in late march 92 at Wadi Hanifah and in Sept 93 over Dywidag compound. However, many 'ringtails' pass through so possibly under-recorded. (2
    )

  31. Pallid Harrier, Circus macrourus
    Commonest of the 'grey' harriers passing through the region, most come through between March and September. Seen at Wadi Hanifah, Thumamah and Dywidag compound. (15)

  32. Montagu's Harrier, Circus pygargus
    Possibly more common than records suggest, however, only one adult male recorded near 'Blue Lagoons' in September 92. (1)

  33. European Sparrowhawk, Accipiter nisus
    Fairly common winter visitor, all records between October and April at 'Blue Lagoons', Dywidag Compound and Thumamah. Also recorded on outskirts of Tabuk in late March 93. (13)

  34. Common (Steppe) Buzzard, Buteo buteo
    In the Riyadh area more birds were seen in 92 than 93 when next species appeared more abundant. First seen in Sept 92 at Mansooriyah and occasionally at Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah. Presumably, most migrants pass through Arabia along coasts. (9)

  35. Long legged Buzzard, Buteo rufinus
    First seen at 'Blue Lagoons' in September 92, then not until April 93 when fairly frequent at Thumamah and Wadi Hanifah. Their distinctive flight was a definite advantage in ID. A dark bird at Thumamah in mid-April was a real quiz. (6)

  36. Spotted Eagle, Aquila clanga
    Common winter visitor, one of the few raptors which regularly perch on pylons along the main Riyadh arterial roads. Seen in every month of the year except June, July and August. In late October 92, 14 birds were present at Mansooriyah. Occasional, birds initially identified as Tawny/Steppe Eagles were probably Spotted Eagles of the race 'fulvescens'.  (14)

  37. Steppe Eagle, Aquila nipalensis
    Uncommon but possibly overlooked migrant, first positively identified at Thumamah in early October 92. Video-film taken of these birds show the different wing-angle in flight, and the broad central band on the underwings of juveniles is quite distinct and a useful ID feature. Seen between September and March at Thumamah and Wadi Hanifah. (6)

  38. Imperial Eagle, Aquila heliaca
    First seen near 'Blue Lagoons' late October 92, then several birds at Thumamah until April. All but one bird were juvenile. The adult was very nervous and would not allow close approach. This was probably related to shooting, as I found a freshly-dead bird at Thumamah in mid-December 92. (6)

  39. Booted Eagle, Hieraaetus pennatus
    A dark-phase bird flying over Dywidag compound was initially identified as a Long-legged Buzzard, but after reading literature regarding 'wing-highlights' it was almost certainly this species. Thereafter only two birds, both pale-phase, were seen at Thumamah in April 92 and Sept 93. 

  40. Short toed Eagle, Circaetus gallicus
    Only two birds were recorded, both at Thumamah. One captive in spring 92 had been shot, hospitalized by Thumamah Wildlife Research Centre (KKWRC) staff, and re-released later, only to become a nuisance by landing on their heads and demanding food. This bird was later caught and caged again. Another was seen on a cultivation pivot in late August 93. (2)

  41. Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
    First seen fishing along Wadi Hanifah in March 92. Another bird shared a similar fate to the above-mentioned Short-toed Eagle in autumn 92, but was not re-released due to its injuries. Another was recorded along Wadi Hanifah in April 93. (3)

  42. Lesser Kestrel, Falco naumanni
    Irregular migrant through the Riyadh area. Occasionally fairly large numbers seen during February to April at Thumamah and Dywidag compound. (5)

  43. Eurasian Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus *
    Common resident and migrant, birds often seen perched along arterial roads in Riyadh area. Large numbers of immatures present on cultivation near 'Blue Lagoons' in November 92. (20)

  44. European Hobby, Falco subbuteo
    Single birds passed through Dywidag and Thumamah KKWRC in April and September in both years, only staying two days at the most. (6)

  45. Barbary Falcon, Falco peregrinoides *
    A pair on the Thumamah DF road in late September 93 were the first and only recorded in the Riyadh area during the period. Also a probable single was seen in a large 'canyon' near the Tabuk-Duba road in late March 93, however, after being shot at I didn't stay around to confirm! (1)

  46. Sand Partridge, Ammoperdix heyi *
    Very common in escarpment at Thumamah and less so near 'Blue Lagoons.' Many young seen in August 93 at former site. (14)


  47. European Quail, Coturnix coturnix *
    Common in artificial cultivation at Thumamah and Wadi Hanifah, calling from February to September. (13)

  48. Corncrake, Crex crex
    Singles seen in April and September 92 on Dywidag Compound. One recorded at Thumamah KKWRC in April 93. A dead and emaciated specimen was found on Dywidag in August 93, possibly killed by feral cats. (4)

  49. Spotted Crake, Porzana porzana
    Single seen on 'Blood-pools' at Mansooriyah in early April 92. A road-kill was found near 'Blue-Lagoons' in September 92. (3)

  50. Common Moorhen, Gallinula chloropus *
    Very common and seen throughout the period at Thumamah DF and Wadi Hanifah. Young seen at both sites. (37)

  51. Eurasian Coot, Fulica atra *
    Common resident in Wadi Hanifah, especially at Dam near El Hair.

  52. Black-winged Stilt, Himantopus himantopus *common resident at Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah DF. Young seen at latter site in both years. (21)

  53. Pied Avocet, Recurvirostra avosetta *
    Seen only once by recorder at 'Blue Lagoons' in March 92, but was informed that a nest had been found and later lost in floods during 93. (Dai James pers. comm.) (1)

  54. Collared Pratincole, Glareola pratincola 
    common migrant to Thumamah DF and 'Blue Lagoons' area. Larger numbers in 93 than 92, but many oil-covered birds seen in this year. Flocks containing juveniles seen at Thumamah from August to September. (14)

  55. Black-winged Pratincole, Glareola nordmanni
    Two birds present at 'Blue Lagoons' cultivated area in Autumn 92 were probably this species but good views were difficult to obtain. (1)

  56. Little Ringed Plover, Charadrius dubius
    Common between March and October at Thumamah DF throughout period; most birds appear to be juveniles. Also seen on the outskirts of Tabuk in late March 93. (13)

  57. Ringed Plover, Charadrius hiaticula
    Small numbers, usually adults, present during March to September at Thumamah DF. (7)

  58. Kentish Plover, Charadrius alexandrinus
    Scarce in the Riyadh area, only 3 sightings during the period, including an immature in September 93 on the cultivation pivot at Thumamah KKWRC. Also recorded in Tabuk in late March 93. (4)

  59. Mongolian Plover, Charadrius mongolus
    In the Riyadh area singles only recorded in July 92 at 'Blue Lagoons' and September 93 at Thumamah DF. (2)

  60. Greater Sand Plover, Charadrius leschenaultii
    Recorded only once in Riyadh area at 'Blue Lagoons' in July 92. Also recorded at Umm Al-Qawain in Jan 93 and on Red Sea coast near Duba in March 93. (1)

    Caspian Plover, Charadrius asiaticus
  61. The first birds recorded were a flock of 15 in breeding plumage near 'Blue Lagoons' in late March 92. A single was at Thumamah DF during September and October 92, and several birds were on the cultivation pivot at Thumamah KKWRC in late August 93. (4)

  62. Northern Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus
    Not seen until mid-December 92 when up to 100 birds were on cultivation pivots at Thumamah DF. A solitary individual was seen at the same site in February 93. (2)


  63. Spur winged Plover, Hoplopterus spinosus
    Scarce in Riyadh area. A single and a pair were seen at the same site near the 'Blood-pools' at Mansooriyah in March and October, respectively. Also larger numbers present on marshy outskirts of Tabuk in late March 93. (2)

  64. White tailed Plover, Chettusia leucurus
    Uncommon in Riyadh area, but small numbers present from July 92 to April 93 at Thumamah DF and along Wadi Hanifah between 'Blood-pools' and the 'Acacia Grove' area. (6)

  65. Common Snipe, Gallinago gallinago
    Common in Riyadh area at wetland sites such as Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah DF. Seen in most months although probably more abundant in winter. (15)

  66. Jack Snipe, Lymnocryptes minimus
    A single bird was seen on the outskirts of Tabuk at the end of March 93.

  67. Bar tailed Godwit, Limosa lapponica
    Recorded only at Umm Al-Qawain in Jan 93.

  68. Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
    As above species.

  69. Eurasian Curlew, Numenius arquata
    In the Riyadh area only recorded at 'Blue Lagoons' in April 93. (1)

  70. Spotted Redshank, Tringa erythropus
    Scarce visitor to the Riyadh area , only seen on a few occasions, once along Wadi Hanifah after heavy rain in March 92, and several were present at Thumamah DF between September and December 92. (3)

    Common Redshank, Tringa totanus
  71. Seen only once in Riyadh area, along Wadi Hanifah in March 92. Also seen  on outskirts of Tabuk in late March 93. (1)

  72. Marsh Sandpiper, Tringa stagnatilis
    An uncommon but fairly regular visitor to the Riyadh area between March and September at Thumamah DF and Wadi Hanifah. (7)

  73. Common Greenshank, Tringa nebularia
    As the above species but probably more numerous, also seen on Dywidag compound. (9)

  74. Green Sandpiper, Tringa ochropus
    Very common visitor to the Riyadh region, seen in every month except June at Dywidag Compound, Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah DF. Also seen at Tabuk in March 93. (22)

  75. Wood Sandpiper, Tringa glareola
    Common visitor to the Riyadh region, seen between March and October at Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah DF. Also seen at Tabuk in Mar 93. (15)

  76. Terek Sandpiper, Xenus cinereus
    In Riyadh region seen only twice in March 92 along Wadi Hanifah and in August 93 on cultivated pivot at Thumamah KKWRC. Also seen at Umm Al-Qawain in Jan 93. (2)

  77. Common Sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
    Common visitor to the Riyadh area between March and October at Thumamah DF and Wadi Hanifah. Also seen along Red Sea coast near Duba in late March 93. (21)

  78. Ruddy Turnstone, Arenaria interpres
    Seen once in Riyadh area, at Thumamah DF in late April 92.  (1)

  79. Little Stint, Calidris minuta
    Seen in every month of the year except June and July, chiefly at Thumamah DF but also at Wadi Hanifah. (17)

  80. Temminck's Stint, Calidris temminckii
    Uncommon visitor recorded February to April and again in October at Thumamah DF and Wadi Hanifah. (5)

  81. Dunlin, Calidris alpina
    Only seen once in the Riyadh area, at Thumamah DF in October 92. (1)


  82. Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
    Fairly common in the Riyadh region , seen in most months from January to October at Thumamah DF and Wadi Hanifah. (7)

  83. Broad billed Sandpiper, Limicola falcinellus
    Uncommon in the Riyadh area, seen in May 92 at Thumamah DF. (1)

  84. Ruff, Philomachus pugnax
    Seen in every month except Jan, Feb, Jun and July at Thumamah DF and Wadi Hanifah. Occasionally still showing vestigial breeding plumage. (16)

  85. Herring Gull, Larus argentatus
    An immature was present at the 'Blood-pools', Mansooriyah in September 92.  (1)

  86. Lesser Black-backed Gull, Larus fuscus
    Gulls of this type were noted travelling north up the Red Sea coast near Duba in late March but were not specifically identified.

  87. Great Black-headed Gull, Larus ichthyaetus
    A single adult was seen scavenging along Red Sea coast near Duba in late March 93.

  88. Black headed Gull, Larus ridibundus
    The only gull seen regularly in the Riyadh area and then not particularly abundant. Normally seen along Wadi Hanifah and occasionally at Thumamah DF. (8)

  89. Gull billed Tern, Gelochelidon niloticaA single was seen preceding stormy weather over Dywidag compound in March 92.  (1)

  90. Caspian Tern, Hydroprogne caspia
    Only seen at Umm Al-Qawain in Jan 93.

  91. Lesser-crested Tern, Sterna bengalensis
    Only seen at Umm Al-Qawain in Jan 93.

  92. Black Tern, Chlidonias niger
    Two birds were seen at Thumamah DF in September 93, one in moult, the other in non-breeding plumage. (1)

  93. Rock Dove, Columba livia *
    A colony is present at Dam near El Hair, but birds interbreed freely with feral pigeons. (TN)

  94. Turtle Dove, Streptopelia turtur
    Uncommon visitor seen in April, August, September and October on Dywidag compound and Thumamah DF. One dishevelled bird on Dywidag looked like it may have escaped from captivity. (8)

  95. Laughing Dove, Streptopelia senegalensis *
    Very common in the Riyadh area. In 92 these birds were scarce on Dywidag compound, the following year they were as plentiful as the next, although less confiding to humans. (TN)

  96. Collared Dove, Streptopelia decaocto *
    Very common resident in the Riyadh area, usually around human habitation. (TN)

  97. Namaqua Dove, Oena capensis *
    Common breeding bird at Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah where recorded in most months of the year, but were inexplicably absent from Oct 92 until March 93. (24)

  98. Rose ringed Parakeet, Psittacula krameri *
    Common introduced bird on Dywidag and other compounds, feed almost exclusively on Sunflowers. (TN)

  99. Common Cuckoo, Cuculus canorus
    Fairly regular visitor (between 10-20 recorded) April to September, on Dywidag compound and Thumamah KKWRC. (10)

  100. Desert Eagle Owl, Bubo bubo *
    A pair gave good views for a couple of weeks in the escarpment at Thumamah during April 92, and another large owl near the same area was seen at dusk but not well in August 93. However, Hume's Tawny Owl (Strix butleri) cannot be ruled out. (3)

  101. Alpine Swift, Apus melba
    A migrant through the area. In May 92 a single bird was seen well at Thumamah KKWRC, and in April the following year at the same location many were seen overhead. (2)

  102. Common Swift, Apus apus
    Possibly badly recorded due to the observer not realising that the next bird is probably a fairly common breeding species in the escarpments around Riyadh. (14)

  103. Pallid Swift, Apus pallidus *
    Often seen around the escarpment at Thumamah. In April 93 frequently drank on the wing from waste-pool at Thumamah DF. (10)

  104. Little Green Bee-eater, Merops orientalis * 
    common in the Riyadh region away from urbanised areas. A pair attempted to breed on Dywidag compound mid-April 93, (probably thwarted by feral cats). Young birds were seen at Thumamah in July 93.  Never in large flocks as the next two species. (32)

  105. Blue cheeked Bee-eater, Merops persicus
    Common migrant through Riyadh seen in every month of the year except January, February and June. Normally arrive after the next species in the Spring (mid-April) and leave later in the Autumn (late Sept). Often roost communally in older Eucalyptus trees on compounds such as Dywidag. (23)

  106. European Bee-eater, Merops apiaster
    Very common migrant through Riyadh arriving early April and returning early September. Roost as previous species. (43)

  107. Eurasian Roller, Coracias garrulus
    Rather uncommon in 92, but more obvious the following year. A loose flock of 21 birds was seen above Dywidag compound late April 93. Juveniles were fairly abundant from mid August. (10)

  108. Hoopoe, Upupa epops
    Common migrant throughout Riyadh area, breeding possible but not seen (Call was never heard during stay). In late March between 10-20 birds were seen migrating north along Red Sea coast at Duba.  (44)

  109. Eurasian Wryneck, Jynx torquilla
    Irregular migrant seen on Dywidag compound in March, April and September. Often seen in early morning or late afternoon eating ants. (6)

  110. Black crowned Finch-Lark , Eremopterix australis *
    Uncommon resident in the Riyadh area, though seen frequently at Thumamah from April to October. Birds were seen displaying in a 'set-aside' enclosure (fenced-off from grazing animals to give natural vegetation a chance to proliferate) at KKWRC during April 93. (8)

  111. Bar tailed Desert Lark, Ammomanes cincturus *
    Birds found near enclosure mentioned above had 2-3 well developed young in mid-April 93 at Thumamah (found by Tim Wacher of KKWRC), not seen before or after, perhaps due to confusion with next species. (1)

  112. Desert Lark, Ammomanes deserti *
    Very common in escarpment areas in the Riyadh region, birds here a pale sandy colour similar to the prevailing rock. Near Tabuk, birds appeared to be much darker, more grey-brown. Young recorded in August. (17)

  113. Dunn's Lark, Ammomanes dunni *
    Pair with young in enclosure mentioned above (found by Tim Wacher of KKWRC) in late March 93, but not recorded before or after this. (1)


  114. Hoopoe Lark, Alaemon alaudipes *
    Uncommon but occasionally seen at Thumamah, were observed displaying during April 93 in above-mentioned enclosure. Once in August 93, a single bird flew out of the escarpment nearby (rather unusual habitat for this bird). Also seen and filmed near Umm Al-Qawain in Jan 93. (7)

  115. Thick-billed Lark, Rhamphocoris clotbey
    One of the highlights of 93, a pair of these birds were present in the escarpment at Thumamah in mid-August, and reasonable film was obtained. Not seen at any other time. (2)

  116. Bimaculated Lark, Melanocorypha bimaculata
    Not seen until 1st Oct 93 (9 days before I left the country) when around 6 birds were present with Short-toed Larks at Thumamah DF. (1)

  117. Lesser Short-toed Lark, Calandrella rufescens *
    Seen occasionally at 'Blue Lagoons' in small numbers. Probably resident, this species normally located by distinct call, quite unlike the next species. (4)

  118. Short-toed Lark, Calandrella brachydactyla
    Common migrant in large flocks at Thumamah DF and Wadi Hanifah from March to October. Three birds landed to drink by the swimming-pool at Dywidag compound with many people present in mid-September 92. (10)

  119. Crested Lark, Galerida cristata *
    Probably the commonest bird outside urban areas, seen in every month during stay. Also seen near Dubai and Tabuk in early 93. (40)

  120. Eurasian Sand Martin, Riparia riparia
    regular migrant through area March to October often in small flocks with Barn Swallow. Also seen near Tabuk in Mar 93. (30)

  121. Pale Crag Martin, Ptyonoprogne obsoleta *
    Common resident nesting in cliffs and houses outside urbanised areas. Nest found in KKWRC HQ in late April 92. Also seen near Tabuk in Mar 93 (38)

  122. Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica
    Common migrant February to October in Riyadh area. (51)

  123. Red rumped Swallow, Hirundo daurica
    Fairly uncommon migrant through Riyadh area. Seen in March, August and September at Thumamah, Wadi Hanifah and Mansooriyah. Also seen on outskirts of Tabuk in late March 93. (3)

  124. House Martin, Delichon urbica
    Only 5 sightings during period, small groups of up to 6 birds between April to September. Also seen once in the first week of February 93 at Wadi Hanifah. (5)

  125. Tawny Pipit, Anthus campestris
    Surprisingly uncommon visitor, occasionally over-wintering in Riyadh area. Most records March to October. Long-legged Pipit (A. similis) searched for but no definite records obtained here. (9)

  126. Eurasian Tree Pipit, Anthus trivialis
    Common migrant through the Riyadh area March to September, most records from Dywidag compound. (11)

  127. Olive-backed Pipit, Anthus hodgsoni
    Single seen on Dywidag compound on 23 March 92. Distinguished from previous species by distinct head pattern, different call and habit of flying from ground to low branches of tree, but bird did have distinct parallel streaking on back and was not as 'olive' as birds recorded since in Nepal. (1)

  128. Red throated Pipit, Anthus cervinus
    Common visitor between March and October at Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah DF, usually in company of Yellow Wagtails. (7)

  129. Water Pipit, Anthus spinoletta
    Bird seen in late December 92 near 'Blue Lagoons' was thought to be this species. (1)

  130. White Wagtail, Motacilla alba
    Common winter visitor (October-March) throughout region including urban areas. Also seen in Dubai and Tabuk in early 93. (18)

  131. Citrine Wagtail, Motacilla citreola
    Seen twice in Riyadh region, the first in breeding plumage along Wadi Hanifah in late March 92, the second in winter plumage at Thumamah DF between August and September 93. (3)

  132. Yellow Wagtail, Motacilla flava
    Common visitor between March and October, mainly on cultivated areas such as Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah DF. Races noted include beema, feldegg, thunbergi and cinereocapilla. (25)

  133. Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea
    Uncommon visitor to the Riyadh area between March and September at Dywidag compound, Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah. (9)

  134. Yellow-vented Bulbul , Pycnonotus xanthopygos *
    Common (introduced?) resident in the Riyadh area seen in almost every month of the year. In 92 a hybrid Yellow-vented/White-cheeked Bulbul was present on Dywidag compound paired to a Yellow-vented. (11)

  135. White cheeked Bulbul, Pycnonotus leucogenys *
    Another possibly introduced bird in the Riyadh area, unlike the previous species. Require wetter, less urbanised areas, such as Wadi Hanifah, where very common. Also seen once at Thumamah KKWRC. (18)

  136. Red vented Bulbul, Pycnonotus cafer *
    Apparently common in the city of Riyadh, however seen only once during stay, in Jan 93 on Dywidag compound. (1)

  137. Grey Hypocolius, Hypocolius ampelinus
    A much-sought after bird, first seen near 'Blood-pools' in Tamarisk bushes during December 92. At this time there were between 20 and 50 birds present, behaving in the manner of Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus). Curiously, whenever an observer gets too close they either fly vertically to an incredible height, returning after several minutes, or dive into a bush in the manner of a sylvia warbler. Their contact calls are not disimilar to a Eurasian Wigeon's (Anas penelope) 'siffling' whistle. In April several were seen on migration through Thumamah and video-filmed. They are a regular winter visitor to the Riyadh area arriving in October and leaving in March. (3)

  138. Rufous Bush Chat, Cercotrichas galactotes *
    Common migrant, some spending the summer and probably breeding in the Riyadh area, seen singing at KKWRC in late may 92. Recorded March to September. Over 20 birds in same area near 'Blue Lagoons' in late July 93. (24)

  139. Black Bush Chat, Cercotrichas podobe *
    Another of the areas specialities, seen in nearly every month of the year at Dywidag compound, Thumamah and Wadi Hanifah. In breeding season the tail appears to be longer with more white feathers on the underside. Males were heard to sing on Dywidag and a long Wadi Hanifah, although no other evidence of nesting was seen. (47)

  140. Thrush Nightingale, Luscinia luscinia
    The first recorded was a probable first-winter bird filmed on Dywidag compound in mid-September 92, followed by an adult at Thumamah KKWRC in late-September. In late-April 93 a bird was heard singing on Dywidag and a pair filmed hunting for ants out of cover before a thunderstorm a few days later. (8)

  141. Nightingale, Luscinia megarhynchos
    About 7 sightings all between March and September, all on Dywidag compound. Unfortunately all behaved in typical Nightingale fashion, consequently no film obtained. (7)

  142. Bluethroat, Luscinia svecica
    Single first seen in winter-plumage at 'Blood-pools' in early-April 92. Not recorded in the area again until early-September 93 when 3 birds were seen on Dywidag compound. Several were seen on the outskirts of Tabuk in late-March 93. (4)

  143. White-throated Robin, Irania gutturalis
    First bird seen was a handsome male on Dywidag compound in early-April 92, also birds were recorded at Thumamah in the same month. Not seen again until April 93 when several males were filmed at Thumamah. (10)

  144. Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros
    Single only seen, throughout December 92 on Dywidag compound. (1)

  145. Common Redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus
    Common migrant in the Riyadh region March to November. White-wing-panelled race 'samamisicus' normally pass through 1 or 2 weeks earlier than nominate. Seen at Dywidag compound and Thumamah. (40)

  146. Blackstart, Cercomela melanura *
    Common resident in the Riyadh area, very noticeable in Spring when males sing and fan their black tails to rivals. Normally seen near escarpment areas at Thumamah and Wadi Hanifah. Possibly some local movement in winter. Also seen on Tabuk-Duba road in late March 93. (19)

  147. Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
    Uncommon visitor to the Riyadh area between March and October, seen on Dywidag compound, Mansooriyah and Wadi Hanifah. Also seen on outskirts of Tabuk in late-March 93. (4)

  148. Stonechat, Saxicola torquata
    Common visitor to the Riyadh area seen between March and December at Dywidag compound, Mansooriyah, Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah. Also seen on the outskirts of Tabuk in late-March. (10)

  149. 'Siberian' Stonechat, Saxicola maura (torquata)
    First seen on Dywidag compound in early-September 93, 2 further sightings thereafter. (3)

  150. Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina
    Common visitor to the Riyadh area, many remaining on cultivated areas through the summer, but no evidence of breeding seen. Seen at Thumamah, Dywidag compound and Wadi Hanifah from March to November. (16)

  151. Red tailed Wheatear, Oenanthe xanthoprymna
    Uncommon visitor seen only in Feb 93 at Wadi Hanifah. However, some may over-winter in this area (Dai James pers. comm). Only dull race 'Chrysopygia' seen. (1)

  152. Northern Wheatear, Oenanthe oenanthe
    Common visitor March to October, seen on Dywidag compound, Thumamah and Wadi Hanifah. In early September 93 a male was filmed singing at Thumamah DF. Also seen on outskirts of Tabuk in late-March. (18)

  153. Desert Wheatear, Oenanthe deserti
    Uncommon visitor to the Riyadh area, April to November, most birds seen in non-breeding plumage at Wadi Hanifah. Adults in breeding plumage were seen at Dubai and Tabuk in early 93. (9)

  154. Black eared Wheatear, Oenanthe hispanica
    Uncommon visitor to the Riyadh area. Seen only on 2 occasions, once in March and again in September 92 at Wadi Hanifah. Also seen in late-March close to beach on Red Sea coast near Duba. (2)

  155. Finsch's Wheatear, Oenanthe finschii
    A bird resembling this species was seen on two occasions at Thumamah DF between March and April 93. However, at times the neck appeared to have white separating the black head and sides, at others this appeared to be missing. Film was taken of this bird. (1)

  156. Mourning Wheatear, Oenanthe lugens
    Common winter visitor, birds of the race 'lugens' present at Thumamah and Wadi Hanifah October to March. (11)

  157. Hooded Wheatear, Oenanthe monacha
    A handsome male seen 'flycatching' on the escarpment at Thumamah in early-Feb 93 was the first seen. Not observed again until July and August when several were seen in same area in moult. These birds are quite distinct with their large size and 'Rock Thrush'-like bill and a habit of calling from prominent open perches as if on a circuit. (5)

  158. Pied Wheatear, Oenanthe pleschanka
    Common visitor between March and October at Dywidag compound, Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah. In April 93 a bird of the rare 'white-throated' race(?) was observed at Thumamah KKWRC. (16)

  159. White crowned Black-Wheatear, Oenanthe leucopyga *
    Common, localised resident of the Riyadh area, found in rocky escarpment regions similar to the Hooded Wheatear. Observed and filmed singing from close range at Thumamah in mid-July. Present throughout area in most months. Also seen on road between Tabuk and Duba in late-March. (12)

  160. Rock Thrush, Monticola saxatilis
    An adult male in early-April 92 on Dywidag compound was the only bird seen throughout period. (1)

  161. Blue Rock Thrush, Monticola solitarius
    A male in non-breeding plumage near the accommodation for 
    Thumamah DF in late-September 93 was the only bird seen. (1)

  162. Song Thrush, Turdus philomelos
    A single was present on Dywidag compound throughout March 92. (1)

    Arabian Babbler, Turdoides squamiceps *
  163. A family group was found near the escarpment at Thumamah in August 93. (2)

  164. Streaked Scrub-Warbler, Scotocerca inquieta *
    A couple of pairs were observed singing near the escarpment at Thumamah in July and August 93. (3)

  165. Grasshopper Warbler, Locustella naevia
    Many locustella warblers were seen and heard 'reeling' in 'alfalfa' cultivation at Thumamah in April 93, some appearing to have distinct eye-stripes and a distinct chestnut colour, so Lanceolated Warbler (L. lanceolata) hasn't been ruled out. Hopefully in the future somebody may be able to trap some and confirm their identity (Peter Symens of KKWRC believes they could be a race of L. naevia, pers. comm.). (3)


  166. Savi's Warbler, Locustella luscinoideA bird 'reeling' from a bush next to an accommodation block at Dywidag compound was not seen very well but was almost certainly this species. (1)

  167. Moustached Warbler, Acrocephalus melanopogon
    A single was seen in early-May 92 on Dywidag compound, and others were almost certainly present with species mentioned in 165.


  168. Sedge Warbler, Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
    Seen infrequently at Dywidag compound and 'Blood-pools' during April 92. Informed that a pair bred in the latter site during Spring 92. (Dai James pers. comm.) (3)

  169. Blyth's Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus dumetorum
    A bird seen frequently and filmed over 2 weeks in mid-September 92 was almost certainly this species. It held territory in a fruit-tree, adopting a 'banana'-like posture, and chased other warblers out, and was readily identifiable by a large 'scar' on its throat. On assuming this was probably a first for Arabia, Peter Symens of KKWRC was contacted and related that he had banded several in North-east Province, Saudi Arabia (pers. comm.).

  170. Eurasian Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus scirpaceus *
    Common visitor and breeding species in the Riyadh area, February to September. Confusion with next species a possibility. (18)

  171. Marsh Warbler, Acrocephalus palustris
    Probable sightings in April, August and September on Dywidag compound and Thumamah. (3)

    Basra Reed-Warbler, Acrocephalus griseldi
  172. An enigma for some time: Acrocephalus warblers were observed with short tails and long undertail-coverts, long dagger-like bills, a olive-brown plumage and sometimes having a facial streak vaguely reminiscent of Rufous Bushchat. In August 93 whilst driving past an avenue of Casuarina trees at Thumamah KKWRC, an incredible corncrake-like cacophony was heard and between 100-300 birds of this description seen. They were also present in large numbers in other areas such as Dywidag compound and in bushes near the escarpment and reeds at Thumamah DF. On consultation with Peter Symens and discussion with Tim Wacher we realised that these were almost certainly Basra Reed-Warblers (A. griseldis) They are a migrants through the Riyadh area and can be seen between March and October. (11)

  173. Clamorous Reed-Warbler, Acrocephalus stentoreus
    During Jan 93 I was fortunate to see and hear Clamorous Reed-Warbler in Zabeel FF and Saffa Park, Dubai and at Kosi Tappu, Nepal, and on returning to Riyadh was certain I could hear a singing bird at Thumamah DF and saw a similar bird on Dywidag compound. In August 93 at Thumamah KKWRC, whilst filming birds drinking from a sprinkler, Tim Wacher and myself became aware of Great Reed, Reed, Basra Reed Warbler, Olivaceous and possibly Upcher's Warbler, and a bird slightly smaller than a Great Reed with a narrower bill, shorter wings and no throat streaking. From reviewing the film I have concluded that this bird is indeed a Clamorous and will be happy to pass this on to anyone interested in seeing it. There is a note in Birds of the Riyadh Region by Arthur Stagg excluding the bird from his Systematic List, on lack of evidence from trapping which I believe the film refutes. The birds seem to pass through the Riyadh area March to September. (4)

  174. Great Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus
    Fairly common migrant through the Riyadh area March to September. Observed singing at Dywidag compound in mid-April 92 from a small patch of large reeds. (13)


  175. Icterine Warbler, Hippolais icterina
    Recorded on 2 occasions in the Riyadh area, the first filmed in early-September at Dywidag compound appeared more like a Melodious Warbler (H. polyglotta) with no wing-panels and short wings. A single was seen again on Dywidag in late-April before a thunderstorm and showed all the definitive features. (2)



    Upcher's Warbler, Hippolais languida
  176. Uncommon and quite shy visitor to the Riyadh area, most records in barren areas with small bushes. Wags long tail from side to side and also up and down in the manner of an Olivaceous Warbler. Seen April to August. (4)

  177. Olivaceous Warbler, Hippolais pallida *
    Commonest 'hippolais' warbler in the region, March to October visitor; breed regularly along Wadi Hanifah. (62)

  178. Booted Warbler, Hippolais caligata
    Several probable sightings April to September. Confusion with former species a possibility. One bird on Dywidag compound in Sept 92 spent much tame on and above ground, did not pump tail and resembled a phylloscopus. (3)

  179. Barred Warbler, Sylvia nisoria
    Fairly scarce in 92, but the following year many birds seen. At least 6 were present on Dywidag compound in April 93, and 8 flushed from one small bush near the escarpment at Thumamah in late-September. Very partial to berries of Lantana and Boysenberry grown on the compound. Visitor to the area between April and September. (20)

  180. Orphean Warbler, Sylvia hortensis
    The next two species caused a few problems during the period. A definite was seen on Dywidag compound in early March 93. 


  181. Arabian Warbler, Sylvia leucomelaena
    In September 92 a bird thought to be this species was filmed at 'Acacia Grove.' However, film of it was studied by a well-known birder from another middle-eastern country, and because the bird wasn't 'pumping' it's tail decided it was an Orphean Warbler, which although acknowledging his experience is still debateful. (1)


  182. Blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla
    Common visitor to the Riyadh area seen from April to December. Birds have been heard singing on Dywidag compound in Spring. (21)

  183. Common Whitethroat, Sylvia communis
    Common visitor to the Riyadh area March to September. Care should be taken, as some birds look rather paler, and could be mis-identified as other 'sylvia' species. (22)

  184. Lesser Whitethroat, Sylvia curruca
    Common visitor to the Riyadh area March to October. A single heard singing on Dywidag compound in April 93 sounded rather like a 'squeaky wheel' (possibly next species?) (41)


  185. Desert Lesser Whitethroat, Sylvia c. minula
    Common winter visitor to the Riyadh area, November to March. Call sounds rather similar to that made by a digital watch or clock, although plumage is not much different to the previous species.(13)


  186. Desert Warbler, Sylvia nana
    Surprisingly only one sighting during period at 'Acacia Grove' in October 92, most birds (though not this one) are often in the presence of Wheatears and frequently found on the same bush. (1)


  187. Menetries' Warbler, Sylvia mystacea
    Again, rather surprisingly, seen only once in the Riyadh area, along Wadi Hanifah in early Spring 93.  (1)


  188. Willow Warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus
    Common visitor March to September, although not heard to sing. (44)

    Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita
  189. Common visitor, many over-wintering. Song of birds on Dywidag compound during January to March different from those of west European birds, probably race 'tristis'. Also seen at Tabuk in early 93. (32)

    Spotted Flycatcher, Muscicapa striata
  190. Probably one of the commonest migrants in the Riyadh area, March to October, there were birds present throughout this period on Dywidag compound. (42)

  191. Semi-collared Flycatcher, Ficedula semitorquata
    Uncommon visitor to the Riyadh area. Recorded on Dywidag compound in March, April and August, breeding plumage birds in Spring. (5)

  192. Eurasian Golden Oriole, Oriolus oriolus
    Common visitor to the Riyadh area, May to October, some spending whole summer on Dywidag compound. In 93, numbers on this compound were down as the management decided to lop approximately 5 metres off the top of every Eucalyptus to prevent injury and damage during storms. (27)

  193. Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio
    Common and obvious visitor to the Riyadh area between March and October, birds present for 1 or 2 days before leaving. In April 93 an adult male was filmed singing on Dywidag compound. (26)

  194. Isabelline Shrike, Lanius isabellinus
    Even more abundant than the previous species. Two forms pass through the Riyadh area, phoenicuroides and isabellinus. Seen in the Riyadh area February to November. Also recorded in Tabuk in early 93. (65)


  195. Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor
    Rather less abundant than the previous species but seen in fair numbers in the Riyadh area, between May and September. Filmed on Dywidag compound in September 92. (14)


  196. Great Grey Shrike, Lanius excubitor *Birds probably of the race 'pallidirostris' present throughout year at Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah. Young seen at Thumamah in August 93. Occasional visitors pass through March to October. (17)

  197. Woodchat Shrike, Lanius senator
    Rather uncommon visitor March to September. Juvenile seen on Dywidag compound in August 93. Also recorded on outskirts of Tabuk in late March 93. (16)

  198. Masked Shrike, Lanius nubicus
    Uncommon but more abundant than previous species. Birds pass through Riyadh area April to October. Adult males particularly shy and difficult to film. Seen at Thumamah and Dywidag compound. In 93 only half the number of birds recorded in the previous year.(23)

  199. Brown necked Raven, Corvus ruficollis *
    Common resident in the Riyadh area. At times large flocks appear on cultivated areas such as Thumamah. Nests seen in escarpment there. (36)

  200. Fan tailed Raven, Corvus rhipidurus *Rather uncommon but local. Occasionally seen at area known as the 'Camel Steps' in the Tuwaiq Escarpment south of the city. Also seen once at Dam near El Hair. Recorded on Tabuk-Duba road in March 93. (2)

  201. Rose-coloured Starling, Sturnus roseus
    Four juveniles were recorded at Thumamah DF and KKWRC in late-August 93. (1)

  202. Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis *Thankfully less common than expected. Odd pairs seen at Thumamah KKWRC. (4)


  203. House Sparrow, Passer domesticus *
    Common resident throughout area. (TN)

  204. Spanish Sparrow, Passer hispaniolensis
    One large colony in lone tree near 'Blue Lagoons' was the only site where this bird was seen. Several birds of the previous species also share site. (11)

  205. Pale Rock Sparrow, Petronia brachydactyla
    Not seen until July and August 93, when flocks of hundreds present at Thumamah DF. (4)


  206. Rueppell's Weaver, Ploceus galbula *
    Seen only on one occasion: A male was carrying nesting material at the 'Blood-pools' Mansooriyah in May 92. Possibly an introduced species. (1)

  207. Streaked Weaver, Ploceus manyar
    Birds seen at 'Blood-pools' in late-October 92 in non-breeding plumage, possibly this species or the previous (lack of literature.) (1)

  208. European Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelisSingle on Dywidag compound in late December 92, possibly an escape. (1)

  209. Trumpeter Finch, Bucanetes githaginea *
    Common resident at Thumamah and rather less so at Wadi Hanifah. Often drink near accommodation blocks at Thumamah DF. Nests in escarpment nearby. (13)

  210. Desert Finch, Rhodopechys obsoleta *Seen in most months of the year except summer. A single was observed singing on Dywidag compound in late-March 92, small flocks present at Thumamah and Wadi Hanifah. (11)

  211. Common Rosefinch, Carpodacus erythrinus
    First noted on call in early-September 93 at Dywidag compound. Possibly same juvenile seen until mid-month. (4)

  212. Red Avadavat, Amandava amandava *Common at 'Blood-pools' throughout, seen once on Dywidag compound in September 92. Probably an introduced species. (8)

  213. Common Silverbill, Lonchura malabarica *Very common species nesting at Dywidag compound and Thumamah DF. Probably an introduced species. (30)

  214. Chestnut Mannikin, Lonchura malacca
    White-bellied race seen once at 'Blood-pools' in late-October 92. Almost certainly an escaped cagebird. (1)

  215. Scaly-breasted Mannikin, Lonchura punctulata
    Seen once at Thumamah DF in mid-August 93. Status as previous species. (1)

  216. Ortolan Bunting, Emberiza hortulanaFairly frequent visitor April to October, at Dywidag compound and Thumamah. (10)
  217. House Bunting, Emberiza striolata *uncommon resident in the Riyadh area. A male was observed singing at the 'Camel Steps' on the Tuwaiq Escarpment in early April 92. Singles were observed at Wadi Hanifah and Thumamah during period.