Feb 272016
 


Whilst birding the Jubail area 12 February, Phil Roberts and I saw a Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus. This was a new species for the Eastern Province for me although Phil had seen one previously.

They are a common and widespread breeding resident on the Tihamah and southern Red Sea coastlands, less common in the Northern Hejaz north to Rabigh with all records below 1000 metres. The species is, however, rare in Central Saudi Arabia and had not been recorded in the Eastern Province until 2013 when I was sent a photograph showing a number of birds (unfortunately) shot, apparently near Al Hassa in 2013.

Phil Roberts then saw a single bird at Sabkhat Al Fasl in 2014 and this record from Jubail is only the third for the Eastern Province. Unfortunately the bird flew before we could get any photos so the photograph below is of one I saw at Sabya Waste Water Treatment Pools, near Jizan in the southwest of the Kingdom.

They are a relatively small species, with elongated central tail feathers, dark underwing, blackish belly and unmarked head. The male has a narrow pectoral band and chestnut brown belly darkening towards rear, whereas the female is more mottled above and shows a tricoloured ventral pattern. Races differ mainly in tone of upperpart coloration with the Arabian population P. e. erlangeri sandy coloured.

They typically inhabit bare semi-desert, often with scattered thorny scrubs or trees including Acacia. They feed during the cooler hours of morning and afternoon and drink 2–3 hours after sunrise, while in very hot weather some individuals drink again before sunset.

Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse

 

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

 

 

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.

Share this post with your friends





Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

avatar

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should Europe’s Wolves be Rewilded? – [1413 Views]
  2. 7 Common Food Items Not Good for Backyard Birds – [1359 Views]
  3. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts – [1137 Views]
  4. Coast Guard Rescues Sea Turtle Entangled Amid Bales of Cocaine – [999 Views]
  5. Nepal’s Last Dancing Bears Have Been Rescued – [963 Views]
  6. Poachers Shoot Down Sea Shepherd Drone in the Gulf of Mexico – [929 Views]
  7. Beak fitness: New Zealand develops roadside gym for endangered keas – [917 Views]
  8. POLL: Should the trafficking of Hippo Teeth be banned? – [860 Views]
  9. Fang trafficking to China is putting Bolivia’s jaguars in jeopardy – [803 Views]
  10. Florida Is ‘Raining Iguanas.’ Will The Invasive Reptiles Adapt? – [781 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7803 Views]
  2. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? – [4519 Views]
  3. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [4097 Views]
  4. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts – [4067 Views]
  5. POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for slaughtering dolphins and whales? – [3395 Views]
  6. POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [3100 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
  8. POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
  9. POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
  10. POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]