Whilst birding recently in the Abha area I came across a pair of Arabian PartridgeAlectoris melanocephala.Thisis a common resident of the south-west highlands, especially steep wooded hillsides of the western escarpment of Jebal Souda, the Raydah Protected Area, Tanoumah and the Al Baha area. They prefer juniper dominated habitats where rocky knolls & clearings occur.
It has also been recorded at terraced fields on the Souda Plateau and feeds mainly on plant material, seeds and insects. They are also common in the Tihama region at Jebal Aswad and Jebal Gaha and can be found from 250 – 2800 metres elevation. They are much larger than other Alectoris species with the sexes being similar, although females are slightly smaller.
They have a black crown extending down the nape; a broad white band begins in front of the eye and extends to the back of the head. The chin and upper throat are also white and are separated from the white above the eye by a narrow black band that starts at the bill, extends to the cheek and forms a “V” on the neck. The sides of the neck are pastel brown and the rest of the plumage is bluish grey with pronounced barring on the sides.