Monday 9 November 2015

Malachite kingfisher at Khawr Rori

In June Tommy Pedersen found a malachite kingfisher at Khawr Rori. I was with him and glimpsed it just before it disappeared not to be seen again , not by me that day nor again throughout the summer by anybody. Nevertheless it became only the eighth record of the species in Oman.

Fast forward to late October and a malachite kingfisher was reported in the same part of Khawr Rori.

I saw it myself a couple of days ago and when it flew off, it went to exactly the same spot as Tommy and I had seen one. It may be the same bird but a new record must be submitted (quite rightly in my opinion).

Malachite kingfisher

It's beautiful bird and most obviously small. The bird I watched was chased away from one perch by a great reed warbler which was larger.

Malachite kingfisher on a reed stem

It is so light it can rest on a reed stem.

It was seen in the north west corner of the Khawr. This corner is accessed from the main road whereas the main body of water is accessed from a side road and costs 2 riyal per car to enter.

Both areas are excellent birding.

The spotted crake and Baillon's crake I have observed have all been in the north west corner though I understand crakes can be seen in the main area too.

European reed warbler

On my recent visits I have seen both great reed warbler and European reed warbler there. These are usually viewed as much rarer than clamorous reed warbler in Dhofar.

common moorhen

The water margins are where the crakes are to be found though my visit to see the malachite kingfisher was the wrong time of day. Only moorhen were obvious.

European roller

The trees in the wadi in the north west corner can also be interesting. A European roller was present on both my last two calls.

northern pintail

It is possible to walk round the inlet to the east and approach part (only) of the main body of water from the north west corner too. This gives me a third birding option at the khawr.

I think this will be useful to watch out for ducks during the winter as they often gather in this part.

On my last trip there were only northern pintail and garganey but it is early yet.


Early November is peak time to see migrating blue-cheeked bee-eater in Dhofar and the khawrs are the most predicable place for them.

blue-cheeked bee-eater

I have not been paying much attention to the main water body yet this season but that is about to change. I have not yet seen red-crested prochard, ruddy shelduck or common shelduck in Oman and this is my best hope in Dhofar. Although none made it here last year. It's good for vagrant waders too.

mostly flamingo

A large flock of flamingo are currently present and I understand some greater white front goose have arrived though not before my last visit.

young European spoonbill 1

I am on the look out for Afro-tropical rarities as well as Indo-Malay visitors. This pink billed spoonbill was inspected but is just a young European spoonbill. One day will see an African spoonbill in Dhofar.

young European spoonbill 2

Khawr Rori is a very important part of Dhofar's birding. There is always something interesting.

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