Tuesday 21 October 2014

Dideric cuckoo being fed at Ayn Hamran

On Saturday morning, I went to Ayn Hamran for the second time since coming to Oman.

I arrived early before any picnickers but after half an hour I met David Kilmister by pure chance. David is a birder working out of Saudi Arabia but on holiday here. It's always good to find fellow birders.

Once again I found a Dideric cuckoo. On first look it appeared to be an adult male. It has the male's metallic green upperparts.

Dideric cuckoo

However, it had heavy spotting and streaking on its underparts resembling a juvenile.

perched young Dideric cuckoo

It was brazenly perched out in the open and allowed close approach. Then I realised why.

a begging Dideric cuckoo

It lowered its wings and started fluttering them in a lowered position. It was begging for food. It knew its foster parents were near-by.

Ruepell's weaver feeds Dideric cuckoo

Moments later and in a flash a Ruepell's weaver appeared with a grub and fed the much larger cuckoo.

after the feed

The cuckoo looked dissatisfied with the amount of food. The cuckoo remained in the same group of trees for all the time I was there and begged several times though I didn't see feeding again as I was not watching it intently.

Young Ruepell's weaver have been fledged for a month now but this greedy bird is still asking for food and getting it. This display explains why I am still seeing Dideric cuckoo so late in the year. 

Looking through visit reports and other records, birders don't see it in November so these greedy young birds must leave soon.

White-eared bulbul

Otherwise, there was no real change in the birds at Ayn Hamran since my last visit. I need the cooler weather for that.

I didn't search in so many places for eastern nightingale but two were in the same spot as before.

Abyssinian white eye, white-spectacled bulbul, Tristram's starling and common myna were still plentiful. However there were more grey wagtail (3).


Even though it is a lush area, blackstart can be seen. This one seems to have some thin wire in its mouth. I hope its not stuck.


Hoopoe can only be seen in these lush areas. They are winter visitors and seem to be quite selective about location.

spotted flycatcher

I am still waiting for a big wave of passerine migrants. The red-tailed shrikes, red-backed shrike, nightingales, common whitethroat, citrine and yellow wagtail and spotted flycatcher make up over 95% of what I have seen.

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