Black-winged Kite (Dhahran) a first for the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia

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In the morning of the 29th March an adult Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus) was present at the Percolation Pond in Dhahran Camp. The bird was sitting on top of a dead tree and was being mobbed by a flock of Common Mynas. Later in the day the bird was present in the Spray fields perched in the only large tree there. The bird showed well, if distantly and caught a couple of small rodents on at least two occasions. The weather was very poor the next day with strong winds, cool temperatures (for here) and large amounts of dust in the air, persuaded the bird to stay, however, it was not seen after that. Black-winged Kites are adept at hovering and when they see prey they drop like a stone with their wings raised in a ‘V’ formation

Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus) – Adult – Dhahran, Eastern province of Saudi Arabia

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This is the first record of Black-winged Kite in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia and the first away from the West Coast area of Saudi Arabia. It has been seen regularly in southwest Saudi Arabia but its status is unclear, although it appears to be a scarce resident on the Tihama and foothills. It may, however, only be an erratic breeding visitor from Africa. It has occurred in all months, as far north as Jeddah. In the United Arab Emirates the species has been recorded on 13 occasions and has been recorded 15 times in Kuwait with almost all records occurring in the 21st Century. In the UAE, where at the beginning of the 21st Century it occurred almost annually, records are mainly from November to March with one in September. In northern Oman occurrence is more erratic with records in January, July, August and November and in Dhofar it has been recorded twice in November and February. The first record for Bahrain, an adult, was found on 2nd March 2012 at the Chicken Farm and this could well be the same bird we have seen in Dhahran as it is only about 60 kilometres away and the species is so rare in our region? The records from UAE and northern Oman as well as those from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia seem likely to be individuals from the Indian region wandering in winter.

Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus) – Adult – Dhahran, Eastern province of Saudi Arabia

Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington is a keen birder and amateur photographer located in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia where he goes birding every day. Jem was born in England and is a serious local patch and local area birder who has been birding for almost forty years and has birded in more than fifty countries. Jem is learning to ring birds in Bahrain as a perfect way to learn more about the birds of the area. Saudi Arabia is a very much under-watched and under-recorded country.

Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington

Jem Babbington is a keen birder and amateur photographer located in Dhahran, Eastern Saudi Arabia where he goes birding every day. Jem was born in England and is a serious local patch and local area birder who has been birding for almost forty years and has birded in more than fifty countries. Jem is learning to ring birds in Bahrain as a perfect way to learn more about the birds of the area. Saudi Arabia is a very much under-watched and under-recorded country.

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Ken_Billington
Ken_Billington

Jem, congratulations on your getting these “first” shots of the Black-winged Kite – a very interesting article.