Saturday 17 November 2012

Ten sociable lapwings at Tabuk

My visit to Tabuk with Lou Regensmorter last weekend was very, very exciting. Not because 5 new species were added to my Saudi list but because we came across 10 of the critically endangered sociable lapwing.

As a result I have put back posting other blog articles in preparation on South West Saudi Arabia and Al Hair. They will have to wait.

It all started on Thursday morning when Lou and I turned off the Haql road 10 kilometres north out of Tabuk. We were looking for accessible pivot fields which were being watered.

four sociable lapwing

We were attracted by a field which had several spur winged lapwing. In fact we counted over 40 in the end.

a sociable lapwing takes off

The spur winged lapwing were clustered around the sprinklers however Lou spotted another bird on the drier side of the field.

six of ten sociable lapwing

It was quickly identified as a sociable lapwing. We decided we had to move the car round to the other side of the field.  The spur winged lapwing spooked as soon as we moved round but a group of braver birds only moved a short distance to another part of the field. These were 10 sociable lapwing.

sociable lapwing with spur winged lapwing

I got quite excited at this point and tried to get closer for good pictures but I didn't want to scare them just for the sake of good pictures. I am pleased we eventually withdraw without scaring them off into another area.

close up of three sociable lapwing

This not a new species for me. I saw 12 once on passage in Azerbaijan. However it was the first time I have seen them close and for a prolonged time. I am savouring these moments.

final shot of sociable lapwing

There are lots of remaining questions. Will they spend the winter there and are there any more in the Tabuk area being the two most obvious?


  1. amazingly wonderful.already an important bird and I was hoping to see it and I am still. I was all day long wait for your report about know that I wish to accompany you there. but maybe next time.

    Greetings to you and Lou.


  2. Mansur, you missed an eventful weekend. There were 4 other additions to my Saudi list which I'll blog about once I have finished reporting on your tour to the South West and our visit to Al Hayer. One of the new additions in Tabuk was moustached warbler. This was one of my nemesis birds! Only got two of them left in KSA now - hooded wheatear and golden oriole


  3. What a lovely find, perhaps another jigsaw piece of where these birds spend the Winter?

    Laurie -

  4. Laurie, its looking more and more like they are a broad front migrator eg Sudan, KSA, Oman, all the way to Pakistan for wintering.