Whilst birding the Jebal Hamrah with Phil Roberts recently we came across a wheatear at the bottom of the escarpment in a largish wadi. It lwas perched ontop of a large boulder in a slightly vegetated area at the foot of the escarpment. On closer inspection in became obvious it was a female Hooded Wheatear. These birds are quite distinct with their large size and long thin bill and the females have reddish tails with restricted black.
They are a rare or scarce but widespread bird throughout the region and are most often encountered in barren, remote stretches such as those between Buwayb and Towqi in the Riyadh area and the Jebal Hamrah and Shedgum Escarpment areas of the Eastern Province. I saw a different female on the other side od the escarpment in March 2018 suggesting the birds may winter in the area although they could still be passage migrants.
Further visits to the area may show more clearly their status in the region. Elsewhere in Saudi Arabia they are a rare but widespread breeding resident of Central Arabia and also occur at Najran, Northern Hejaz.