Saturday 6 April 2013

All the harriers and other birds of prey at Zulfi

As promised, here is a blog reporting some more of Mansur Al Fahad's four day trip to Zulfi. This blog is about the birds of prey he saw.

First and foremost he managed to see all four harrier species which are found in Saudi Arabia and they were in roughly the same area!

The hen harrier was found in fields 25 kilometres north of Zulfi on the penultimate day of his trip. It surprises some people to know that hen harrier can be seen in the northern most third of Saudi Arabia during the winter though places like Tabuk in the true north probably give you the best chance.

For Mansur it was a lifer.

hen harrier

Montagu's harrier is a passage bird which is rarer than pallid harrier. Indeed I still haven't seen one in Saudi Arabia. It is one of a small number of my "nemesis" birds.

Montagu's harrier

It was seen, on the last day, along with pallid harrier and marsh harrier over a barley field 30 kilometres south west of Zulfi. That field provided a bonanza!

pallid harrier

Pallid harrier is quite a common passage bird and can be seen almost anywhere in Saudi Arabia.

male marsh harrier

Likewise, male marsh harrier is mostly a passage bird. We see proportionately many more juveniles and females during the winter.

black kite

However the harriers weren't the only birds of prey observed. A steppe eagle and a black kite seen to the north of Zulfi.

steppe eagle

Finally we shouldn't forget that by far the most common bird of prey in the area is the humble kestrel.

common kestrel

There is more to come on Mansur's trip to Zulfi in future blogs. Thanks to him again for the information and pictures.


  1. Spring is finally arriving this weekend in Blighty altho i have already had 2 Swallows locally (looks like the 1sr record for the West Midlands region!) - Off to Lisbon and the hinterland at the end of the month, should be lots of Montys'.......

    Laurie -

  2. Our swallows returned in mid February and have already bred! Meanwhile the passage swallows continue to stream through in big numbers at the moment.

    As for Montys, please don't mention them I am getting a complex about not seeing them here!