The doves of Jizan



Its difficult to know where to start with the trip to Jizan last weekend but I am going with a nice self-contained group – the doves.

You don’t go to the south west corner of Saudi Arabia without the hope of seeing African . Actually they aren’t that common but we picked a couple up quite easily at the back waters of Lake Maliki.

at dawn

Laughing dove is the most abundant dove there and elsewhere in the south west. Rock dove (feral pigeon) is also obviously common too.

European collared dove

A much more pleasing find was a group of European . This is described in my Helms guide to the Middle East as “rare wintering in south Arabia”. These birds were the arenicola sub species of the Middle East. I wouldn’t rule out residency.

Namaqua dove is quite easy to see around the lake and in drier areas.

A speculative drive up into the hills towards the end of Thursday yielded a dividend. We met the hill loving red eyed dove. This was one of the four lifers for me on the trip and a great way to end the first day.

Red eyed dove

Having seen Bruce’s green pigeon and dusky turtle dove on previous visits to the south west, my target list of south western doves is now down to one – African olive pigeon though African vagrants can’t be ruled out.

Robert Tovey

Robert Tovey

Dr is a scientist by training and more recently an English teacher. His profession allows him to travel to some of the more difficult-to-get-to places and stay there for years if his inclination takes him. He is a keen bird watcher, blogger and amateur photographer. He has worked in Azerbaijan and Libya and is currently in Saudi Arabia. Rob also has a base in Bulgaria so overall is becoming a bit of birding specialist in very general terms where East meets West.

Robert Tovey

Robert Tovey

Dr Rob Tovey is a scientist by training and more recently an English teacher. His profession allows him to travel to some of the more difficult-to-get-to places and stay there for years if his inclination takes him. He is a keen bird watcher, blogger and amateur photographer. He has worked in Azerbaijan and Libya and is currently in Saudi Arabia. Rob also has a base in Bulgaria so overall is becoming a bit of birding specialist in very general terms where East meets West.

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