Pharaoh Eagle Owl – Jubail area

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I saw and photographed a Pharaoh Eagle Owl recently in the desert in the Eastern Province. Records suggest it is an uncommon bird in the Saudi Arabian deserts, although it is probably more common than records suggest as they are secretive and well camouflaged.

The Pharaoh Eagle Owl is distributed throughout much of North Africa and the Middle East, with two recognised subspecies.

The subspecies Bubo ascalaphus ascalaphus occupies the northern part of the species range, being found in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, northern Egypt and Israel east to western Iraq.

By contrast, the smaller, paler and sandier coloured Bubo ascalaphus desertorum can be found in the Sahara Desert south to Mauritania & Niger and from Western Sahara, east, to Sudan, as well as in Eritrea, Ethiopia and much of the Arabian Peninsula, as far south as northern Oman and as far east as southern Iraq.

They are found in arid habitats, including open desert plains, rocky outcrops and broken escarpments and jabals, mountain cliffs and wadis. Most records from Saudi Arabia have been attributed to the pale B. a. desertorum as this bird appears to be, but there appear to be many birds resembling the sub-species B. a. ascalaphus also in the Kingdom.

Pharaoh Eagle Owl
Pharaoh Eagle Owl

 

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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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Tonia Vassila

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