Shining (Arabian) Sunbird – Raydah Escarpment

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Whilst birding the Raydah Escarpment in June I saw a few Arabian Sunbird Cinnyris hellmayri. The birds were at the bottom of the escarpment near the village and dry wadi. It is normally treated as conspecific with Shining Sunbird Cinnyris habessinicus, but differs in males by having much-reduced and slightly duller red breast-band and more extensive and deeper blue reflectant uppertail-coverts.

In females they differ by having much darker grey or grey-brown plumage. They are a larger size and have a different song. The Handbook of Birds of the World treat them as separate species with two subspecies both of which are found is Saudi Arabia.C. h. kinneari that occurs in western Saudi Arabia from the southern Hijaz mountains south to the Asir mountains.

The second subspecies C. h. hellmayrioccurs in the extreme southwest of Saudi Arabia in the Najran area, Yemen and SW Oman.

Arabian Sunbird Cinnyris hellmayri
Arabian Sunbird Cinnyris hellmayri
Arabian Sunbird Cinnyris hellmayri

 

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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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