Monday 1 February 2016

Wintering grey-headed kingfisher

Grey-headed kingfisher is a summer visitor from Africa to South West Arabia including Dhofar. However a small number in the Salalah area do not migrate. They are effectively resident. I wonder if this also happens in lowland parts of Yemen and south west Saudi Arabia too?

I know of two wintering in parks in Salalah.

I caught up with one in the main Salalah Public Park on Saturday.

grey-headed kingfisher

It was right in the middle of the park in the the tallest trees.

another view of grey headed kingfisher

The other one is at Dahariz park next to Khawr Dahariz (often called East Khawr by birders).

There was a good selection of pipits of wagtails at Salalah park too.

yellow wagtail (possible feldegg)

The most abundant is white wagtail but there are yellow wagtail of various sub species, tawny pipit in the drier areas and tree pipit in the shade.

first tree pipit

All these birds winter here. I don't believe any migrants are on their way back quite yet.

second tree pipit

Common sandpiper is commonly seen in parks and gardens in Dhofar in winter. Other waders are much rarer.

common sandpiper

The only bird of prey I saw was a common kestrel. Dahariz park though only a quarter of the size usually does much better partly because it has a higher density of tall trees and partly as it is so close to Khawr Dahariz.

common kestrel

The abundance of flowers helps support a thriving shining sunbird population in the park.


I have not seen any other species of sunbird there though.

female shining sunbird

Rose-ringed parakeet screech around but more surprisingly I observed an African paradise flycatcher right in the heart of the city.

Two large flocks of Abyssinian white-eye were met. 

Tristram's starling

Unfortunately house crow and common myna are plentiful but the indigenous Tristram's starling is also common.

white spectacled bulbul

White spectacled bulbul is another local species easily seen.

Along with Dahariz Park and Saadah Park I will be paying more attention this spring. I really don't know whether the parks will be migrant traps or not. They have a good habitat but on the other hand Salalah is not on the main route as much as the desert stops 100-200 kilometres further north. We shall see.

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