Whilst in Jizan we stopped at the fish market where we knew from past experience that photography was possible. The fish market is an excellent place to see both Sooty and White-eyed Gulls with plenty of birds normally resting on the roofs and feeding on scraps on the ground. It is best to get to the market in the early morning when the fish are being landed and processed to see the largest number of birds.
We only managed to get there late one evening and again in the early afternoon but saw plenty of gulls at both times. July proved to be good at the fish market with hundreds of gulls present with almost all Sooty and White-eyed. Many wait around on the ground for fish waste to be thrown out and then a huge melee breaks out as all the gulls go for the waste at the same time. White-eyed Gulls have a range in Saudi Arabia that spreads mainly up the Red Sea coast to north of Jeddah.
The White-eyed Gull is mostly sedentary although it disperses from its breeding sites in the Red Sea to occur throughout the Red Sea during the non-breeding season. There may also be some southward and eastward movement during this time, when it is reported to become scarce in the northern part of its range. Breeding takes place during the months of June – September where it breeds in loose colonies, on inshore islands, where it occupies bare rock and sand flats, and usually consist of fewer than 25 pairs.
During the non-breeding season it is usually found in small groups, but sometimes forms flocks of hundreds or even thousands to forage and often occurs further out to sea at this time. They are mainly coastal and usually feed at sea, but some Egyptian populations have adopted a scavenging role at rubbish tips and harbours, which is also the case at Jizan Fish Market. They eat mainly fish, but also crustaceans, molluscs, annelids and offal.