Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

26 October to 2 November 2002
Chris Bradshaw & Truda Odor


This trip was a follow-up trip to that undertaken by TO in the company of Mike Edgecombe and John Gregory in May 2002. For details of many of the sites mentioned in this report, please consult the May 2002 report (see trip reports section). The main objective was to assess the possibilities for operating birding tours in the SW part of Saudi Arabia. We visited many of the same locations covered by TO in the May 2002 trip, but also undertook visits to several new areas, including a full day on the Farasan Islands and visits to Wadi Lajb and Al Habalah. The trip was a great success with almost all of the SW Arabian endemics recorded (missing were Asir Magpie and Arabian Accentor). In total we recorded 171 species, with one additional species heard only.


Our trip was sponsored by Prince Bandhar al Faisal Ibn Abdul Aziz we are extremely grateful for his support of the trip. CFR Conseil provided the funds that made this trip possible. Thanks also are due to our driver and especially Mubarak, without whom logistics would have been considerably more difficult.

Daily Diary

25th October – A long travel day. CB left home at 2.30am in order to catch an EasyJet flight to Paris at 05.40am. Our Saudi Airlines flight from Paris left Charles de Gaulle at 11.45am and TO’s journey to the airport was far from uneventful! Stopping at Rome and Jeddah (where the immigration formalities were completed) we arrived in Abha at 1.30am. Transfer to the Abha Palace hotel was swift and by 2.30am we were checked in.

26th October – After such a long travel day the previous day we had a fairly leisurely start, but we were birding at Wadi Mahalah by 8.00am. This site proved to be much drier than on TO’s previous visits in the spring, but good birding produced our first endemics in the form of Arabian Wheatear, Yemen Linnet and Arabian Serin. Other interesting birds here included Southern Grey Shrike, African Rock Martin, Blackstart and a good selection of wheatears; Isabelline, Desert and Pied. Shining Sunbirds and Little Green Bee-eaters offered a wonderful splash of colour, whilst a party of 3 Sand Partridges performed well.

The heat of the day wasn’t too oppressive, but nevertheless a return to the hotel for a break was followed by a trip up to the Raydah escarpment. This proved to be a bit disappointing with rather cool temperatures and rain. However we did manage to find Brown Woodland Warbler, 30 Yemen Linnet, Steppe Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk.

27th October – A dawn start found us at the top of the Raydah escarpment. With strong winds and low temperatures it certainly didn’t feel as though we were in Arabia, but the birds certainly were typical of this part of the world with Yemen Thrush, Philby’s Partridge, Yemen Linnet and the ubiquitous Yellow-vented Bulbuls all present. We headed down to the bottom of the escarpment in search of birds and perhaps more importantly higher temperatures!

An area of lush vegetation was leaping with birds. Redstart, Little Rock Thrush, Blackcap, Yemen Thrush, Chiffchaff and African Grey Hornbill were all quickly located and a Hume’s Owl was flushed. Flocks of White-breasted White-eyes moved through the trees and our first Arabian Woodpecker performed at close range.

Moving back up the escarpment we encountered Kestrel, Brown Woodland Warbler and groups of Baboons. Back at the top of the escarpment temperatures had risen and birding here was now very pleasant. Fields in this area were the focus of our birding and produced Yemen Warbler, Scrub Warbler, Red-breasted Wheatear and Stonechat of the local form felix. From here we moved onto the Tala Valley. Birding around a small village was very productive with Redstart, Little Rock Thrush, Graceful Prinia, White-breasted White-eye, Arabian Serin and our first Ruppell’s Weavers all recorded.

After lunch at the hotel we headed out to Wadi Bin Hashbal in the hope of finding some night birds. We drew a blank, with Arabian Wheatear and a stork species proving to be the only birds of note, but a simply stunning sunset was an awesome end to a good day in the field.

28th October – A 6.45am departure from the hotel found us in the steaming heat and humidity of the lower altitudes by 7.30am. Our first stop at a lush wadi and banana plantation was very productive. Here we found African Grey Hornbill, Hammerkop, Arabian Warbler, Blackstart, Isabelline and Red-backed Shrike, 3 Ortolan Buntings, Tree Pipit and a Black Bush Robin. 2 Great Reed Warblers moving through rocks andboulders were a strange site out of their usual reed bed habitat.

Our next stop was for a group of migrating raptors, which included 40 Steppe Buzzards, 2 Egyptian Vultures, 1 Sparrowhawk and Steppe Eagle. Later we paused for an excellent hour at the ‘weighbridge’ wadi, where permanent water produced a small selection of ducks involving Shoveler, Teal and GarganeyLittle and Temminck’s StintLittle Ringed and Common Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper were also present. A Grey-headed Kingfisher was seen well in some palms, whilst a White-browed Coucal was heard but unseen and a Golden Oriole flew over.

Moving on towards Jizan we stopped near Sabya to look for Arabian Golden Sparrow. 10 minutes later we were on our way with our target bird safely bagged. On arrival in Jizan the mudflats produced a flurry of new birds with Crab Plover right by the vehicle and a selection of other shorebirds that included Lesser & Greater Sandplover and Terek Sandpiper. Terns were much in evidence with Lesser Crested, White-cheeked, Caspian and Gull-billed Tern all present. A Brown Noddy was very welcome, whilst a Pink-backed Pelican loafed offshore.

Our destination for the afternoon was the superb Malaki Dam Lake. Here we had barely 2 hours to try and do justice to this large and bird-filled site. Large numbers of ducks, herons and shorebirds were present. Squacco Herons were all around the lake, Ferruginous Ducks drifted around the open water and waders included Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Wood Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper and Temminck’s Stint. A flock of Glossy Ibis dropped in. Terns drifted back and forth with Gull-billed, Whiskered, White-winged and Caspian all in evidence. Overhead raptors featured with Marsh, Montagu’s and Pallid Harrier, Kestrel, Steppe Eagle and Black Kite all present. 8 Greater Spotted Eagles were seen perched in a single tree. In the acacia scrub an African Rock Bunting sang whilst Isabelline and Southern Grey Shrike were also noted.

As dusk approached we reluctantly had to leave, but on leaving a Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse was disturbed. A fitting end to a simply superb day’s birding that had produced a total of 110 species. In the evening we took a boat onto the Farasan Islands, where we checked in at the Farasan Hotel.

29th October – Our day was spent exploring the Farasan Islands. Although generally very barren with little vegetation we nevertheless enjoyed some excellent birding. Near our hotel a small pool played host to Pink-becked Pelican, Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal, Red-throated Pipit, Pied Wheatear and a superb juvenile Pallid Harrier that put on an excellent close range display.

Acacia scrub, palms and small fields were home to Black-crowned Finch-Larks, Namaqua Dove, Isabelline Shrike and on telegraph wires Blue-cheeked Bee-eater. In the most barren areas we found Hoopoe Lark, whilst in a relatively lush area of scrub, Gazelles (Gazella gazella farasani) were seen on several occasions.

Exploring various inter tidal areas we found significant numbers of shorebirds which apart from the more familiar fare included Crab Plover, Lesser & Greater Sandplover, Curlew Sandpiper and Terek Sandpiper. Groups of Sooty Gulls were noted in several places, whilst roosting flocks of gulls and terns produced Slender-billed Gull, Caspian Tern and Lesser Crested Tern. Offshore Brown Boobies could be seen feeding. In the northern part of the main island we found distant flocks of Greater Flamingos and a Goliath Heron.

30th October – We caught an early boat back to Jizan (taking just over an hour). After attending to one or two matters in Jizan we headed off to Wadi Lajb, a spectacular deep and narrow gorge. The scenery was absolutely stunning and well worth the effort of going to. However avian highlights were rather few with a pair of Bonelli’s Eagles, Grey Wagtail, Griffon Vulture and African Rock Martin being the main interest. Later in the day we encountered a group of 4 Short-toed Eagles, but our journey continued with an arrival at Al Haraidah soon after dark.

31st October – An early morning walk in the area opposite the hotel proved to be very productive with 2 Demoiselle Cranes heading off NE just after dawn, a Dark Chanting Goshawk, Kingfisher, African Collared Dove and Spoonbill all new to the trip list. A whistle stop tour of various parts of the coast northwards to Al Birk produced many interesting sightings, with Bimaculated Lark, Brown Booby, Crested Tern, Imperial Eagle and another Dark Chanting Goshawk amongst the many highlights.

Heading inland we made a prolonged stop in the lush Wadi Hali. Here we found the endemic Arabian Waxbill, African Rock Bunting, House Bunting, Masked Shrike, Arabian Warbler, Reed Warbler and perhaps more surprisingly Garganey, Glossy Ibis and Hammerkop.

From here we continued our journey to Tanoumah, passing through startlingly rugged scenery and enjoying good numbers of raptors which included Long-legged Buzzard, Steppe Buzzard, Griffon Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Barbary Vulture and Kestrel. Our arrival at Tanoumah was greeted by thunderstorms of rather biblical proportions and curtailed further birding for the day.

After dark we headed into town to enjoy a superb meal in a Turkish restaurant, but not before we had had stunningly close views of a Spotted Eagle Owl on the streetlights just outside our hotel.

November 1st – A 6.15am start found us walking in the stunning landscape close to our hotel at Tanoumah. Close to the hotel Yemen Serin were feeding amongst rocks and rubbish. Brown Woodland Warbler and White-breasted White-eye frequented the junipers. In the fields we found Arabian Partridge and a Philby’s Partridge was also seen well. As we made our way back to the hotel we encountered an Arabian Woodpecker, whose red crown patch looked stunning in the early morning sun. Black Redstart, Blackcap and Pied Wheatear were amongst the supporting cast.

Around 8.15am we travelled to the nearby Shallal al Dahna waterfall. Unfortunately the pool present in May had dried up, but we were able to enjoy views of Yemen Thrush, Arabian Wheatear and Scrub Warbler. As we enjoyed a picnic breakfast some raptor activity began and Steppe Eagle and Griffon Vulture were enjoyed as we ate.

After breakfast we began the drive back to Abha, pausing en-route to enjoy 2 Imperial Eagles and more Steppe Eagles. Back at the Abha Palace hotel, scanning of the lake produced Purple Heron and Black-headed Gull new for the trip list.

November 2nd – Our final morning was spent in the spectacular landscapes of Al Habalah. On arrival we enjoyed superb views of Steppe Eagles as they rose up above the towering cliffs at this location. Other birds were rather thin on the ground, but Black Redstart, African Rock Martin and Griffon Vulture were noted.

The afternoon was spent enjoying some R&R ahead of our long journey home, with departure from Abha in the early evening and arrival back in Paris around 7.00am on 3rd November.

Systematic List

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Good numbers recorded at Abha Lake and Malaki Dam Lake.

Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
Small numbers seen feeding around the Farasan Islands, with larger numbers loafing on islands near the harbour there. 10 on rocks near Al Birk (the same site provided sightings of this species in May 2002).

Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens
1-3 noted at various coastal locations, including Jizan, Farasan Islands and Al Birk.

Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber
Small numbers noted around the Farasan Islands and in the Al Birk area.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Small numbers recorded in lowland areas with the largest concentration being 30 at Malaki Dam Lake. In the highlands 1 was at Abha Lake.

Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis
Small numbers widespread in coastal areas. Inland singles at the weighbridge wadi and Malaki Dam Lake.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Small numbers were noted at widespread locations along the coastal plain and the Farasan Islands, with the largest concentration involving 40 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Goliath Heron Ardea goliath
A single bird seen in flight on the Farasan Islands was the only sighting.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
A single juvenile at Abha Lake was the only sighting of this species.

Great White Egret Ardea alba
One at Malaki Dam Lake.

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
1 at the weighbridge wadi and 30 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
An impressive concentration of around 400 birds was recorded at Malaki Dam Lake.

Striated Heron Butorides striatus
Singles at Jizan, the harbour on the Farasan Islands and at Al Haraidah.

Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
2 at the weighbridge wadi were roosting in Palm trees.

Hammerkop Scopus umbretta
3 at Malaki Dam Lake, 2 at a roadside stop 30minutes from Abha and 1 at Wadi Hali.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
A large flock of at least 60 was seen at Malaki Dam Lake, whilst there were 3 at Wadi Hali.

Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
4 in a tidal wadi near Al Birk and 2 at Al Haraidah.

Black Stork Ciconia nigra
1 was seen briefly as it rose above the trees at Malaki Dam Lake. A stork species seen in flight at dusk was either this species or Abdim’s, but the light was too poor and range to great to make a confirmed identification.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia
15 were in the Malaki Dam Lake area.

Eurasian Wigeon Anas Penelope
2 at Malaki Dam Lake and 3 on a small pool near the Farasan Hotel.

Teal Anas crecca
1-2 recorded at the weighbridge wadi, Malaki Dam Lake, on the Farasan Islands and at a roadside pool south of Al Birk.

Pintail Anas acuta
1 – 4 recorded at Malaki Dam Lake, Farasan Islands and Abha Lake.

Garganey Anas querquedula
20 at Malaki Dam lake was the largest concentration. Elsewhere a flock of 5 were seen at the weighbridge wadi, whilst 2 were flushed at Wadi Hali.

Shoveler Anas clypeata
The most numerous and widespread duck. Recorded at weighbridge wadi, on the Farasan Islands, Abha Lake and Malaki Dam Lake. The largest concentration involved ca 50 at the last named site.

Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca
At least 20 of this species were recorded at Malaki Dam Lake.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
15 were seen at Malaki Dam Lake.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus
1-2 at Jizan and ca 10 in the Farasan Islands.

Black Kite Milvus migrans
Common and widespread, with large concentrations regularly recorded around rubbish tips. Most birds seen well appeared to be of the resident race aegyptius.

Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
Fairly common on the Farasan Islands. Elsewhere 2 seen with a group of migrating Steppe Buzzards and Steppe Eagles in foothills not far from the weighbridge wadi was the only record.

Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus
Fairly common in the upland areas with concentrations of 20 near Tanoumah. Also seen at Wadi Lajb.

Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
A group of four were seen hunting near Wadi Lajb.

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
3 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus
Single females were seen at Malaki Dam Lake and on the Farasan Islands, whilst a juvenile performed at close range at the small pool near the Farasan Hotel.

Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus
A single male was at Malaki Dam Lake.

Dark Chanting Goshawk Melierax metabates
Two singles performed very well at Al Haraidah.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Singles noted at Raydah, Farasan Islands and in the foothills not far from the weighbridge wadi.

Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Single Steppe Buzzards were seen at Raydah and on the Farasan Islands. A migrating flock of ca 40 birds was seen in the foothills not far from the weighbridge wadi, whilst small numbers were also noted in the Tanumah area.

Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
2 near Tanumah was the only sighting.

Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga
A group of 8 perched in a single tree at Malaki Dam Lake was one of the highlights of the trip.

Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis
A total of 30 birds was recorded during the trip. The largest concentrations involved 8 along a ridge between Tanumah and Abha and 17 at Al Habalah.

Imperial Eagle Aquila rapax
One at Al Haraidah and two between Tanumah and Abha were the only sightings of this impressive bird. All birds were seen in association with Steppe Eagles.

Bonelli’s Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus
A pair at Wadi Lajb was the only sighting.

Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
A dark phase bird was seen at the Arabian Golden Sparrow site near Sabya, whilst a pale phase individual was seen near Wadi Lajb.

Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
1-3 noted almost daily.

Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoides
A single in the mountains near Tanumah.

Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi
A group of three seen at Wadi Mahalah.

Philby’s Partridge Alectoris philbyi
8 flushed at Raydah and at least one at Tanumah were our encounters with this species.

Arabian Partridge Alectoris melanocephala
A flock ca 10 was seen at Tanumah, whilst this species was also noted on slopes near the Abha Palace hotel.

Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Noted at Abha Lake and Malaki Dam Lake.

Coot Fulica atra
Recorded at Abha Lake and Malaki Dam Lake.

Demoiselle Crane Grus virgo
2 flew over the hotel at Al Haraidah just after dawn.

Crab Plover Dromas ardeola
6 at Jizan. On the Farasan Islands small numbers widespread with a total of 37 recorded.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Small numbers at Jizan and on the Farasan Islands.

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
6 Malaki Dam Lake and 1 near Al Birk.

Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
10 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatorola
1-5 at various locations in the Farasan Islands and at Jizan.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
1-4 at Malaki Dam Lake, weighbridge wadi, Jizan and on the Farasan Islands.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Recorded at the weighbridge wadi.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
Fairly common around Jizan and on the Farasan Islands. Largest concentrations involved 40 at Al Mahsur and 30 near the Coastguard Station.

Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus
One of the commonest shorebirds at Jizan and on the Farasan Islands. Largest count involved 140 at Al Mahsur.

Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii
1 at Jizan and 5 at Al Mahsur.

Sanderling Calidris alba
Small numbers noted at Jizan and on the Farasan Islands.

Little Stint Calidris minuta
8 at the weighbridge wadi. 4 at Al Mahsur on the Farasan Islands. 10 at the tidal wadi south of Al Birk.

Temminck’s Stint Calidris temmincki
2 at the weighbridge wadi and 3 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Dunlin Calidris alpina
Small numbers noted at Jizan and on the Farasan Islands.

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
220 at Al Mahsur on the Farasan Islands. Also noted at Jizan.

Ruff Philmachus pugnax
ca 60 at Malaki Dam Lake and 3 on a roadside poll south of Al Birk.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
One at Malaki Dam Lake.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
40 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Noted at Jizan and 150 counted at Al Mahsur on the Farasan Islands.

Whimbrel Numenius phaepus
On the Farasan Islands, 6 at Al Mahsur, 2 at the main harbour and 10 near a Coastguard station. Also noted at Jizan.

Curlew Numenius arquata
Small numbers noted at Jizan and on the Farasan Islands.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
10 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Fairly common in inter-tidal areas on the Farasan Islands and Jizan. Also noted at Malaki Dam Lake.

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatalis
5 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia
1 at Malaki Dam Lake and 1 at Wadi Hali.

Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Singles at the Malaki Dam Lake and Wadi Hali.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
15 at Malaki Dam Lake and 1 at Wadi Hali.

Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus
Small numbers at Jizan. On the Farasan Islands 70 at Al Mahsur.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Noted Malaki Dam Lake and near Al Birk.

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Fairly common in inter-tidal areas on the Farasan Islands and Jizan. Highest counts involved 35 at Al Mahsur and 15 at Abutaq Point on the Farasan Islands.

Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii
Common along the coast.

Armenian Gull Larus armenicus
A total of 5 large white-headed gulls in coastal areas showed characteristics associated with this species.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
An adult at Abha Lake was the only sighting.

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei
3 Jizan and 20 at the Farasan Coastguard station.

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
2 Jizan, 40 Malaki Dam Lake, 1 at Al Haraidah.

Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
2 Jizan, 1 Malaki Dam Lake, 2 Abutaq Point, Farasan Islands, 1 near Al Birk.

Crested Tern Sterna bergii
60 near Al Birk.

Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis
Fairly common in coastal areas.

White-cheeked Tern Sterna repressa
Only noted in the Jizan area, where at least 40 were recorded.

Saunder’s Tern Sterna saundersi
4 1st year small terns seen near Al Birk had rather dark looking upperparts, thus were most likely this species.

Whiskered Tern Childonias hybridus
20 Malaki Dam Lake.

White-winged Tern Childonias leucopterus
20 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Brown Noddy Anous stolidus
1 at Jizan was the sighting of this species.

Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse Pterocles lechtensteinii
1 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Rock Dove Columba livia
Common and widespread.

Dusky Turtle Dove Streptopelia lugens
4 at Malaki Dam Lake.

Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Small numbers widespread. Noted daily.

African Collared Dove Streptopelia rosegrisea
Small numbers noted in the Al Birk/Al Haraidah area.

Namaqua Dove Oena capensis
Small numbers at several sites including Malaki Dam Lake and weighbridge wadi.

White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus
Heard at the weighbridge wadi.

Spotted Eagle Owl Bubo africanus
1 performed superbly around streetlamps at the hotel at Tanumah.

Hume’s Owl Strix butleri
1 was flushed from lush vegetation at the bottom of the Raydah escarpment.

African Palm Swift Cypsiurus parvus
Small numbers at widespread locations on the coastal plain.

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
One in the mangroves at Al Haraidah is apparently an unusual sighting this far south in Saudi.

Grey-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala
1 at the weighbridge wadi.

Little Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis
Recorded at widespread locations in small numbers with a high count of 10 at Wadi Mahalah.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus
4 on the Farasan Islands was the only sighting.

Abyssinian Roller Coracias abyssinica
A juvenile roller which flew through Wadi Mahalah is perhaps most likely to have been this species, but the possibility of it being a European Roller could not be ruled out.

Hoopoe Upupa epops
2 at Wadi Mahalah and 1 at Malaki Dam Lake.

African Grey Hornbill Tockus nasutus
Noted at several locations, mostly at lower altitudes in the foothills. Sites included the bottom of the Raydah escarpment, a lush wadi along the Abha – Jizan road and en-route to Tanumah.

Arabian Woodpecker Dendrocopus dorae
Singles at the bottom of the Raydah escarpment and at Tanumah were our only encounters with this species.

Sand Martin Riparia riparia
1 at Wadi Mahalah.

African Rock Martin Hirundo obsoleta
Small numbers seen at Wadi Mahalah, Raydah, Tanumah, Wadi Lajb.

Swallow Hirundo rustica
Recorded daily.

Black-crowned Finch-Lark Eremopterix nigriceps
Common on the Farasan Islands.

Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes
3 on the Farasan Islands. 3 in the Al Birk area.

Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata
A group of 4 were seen drinking at a small roadside pool south of Al Birk.

Crested Lark Galerida cristata
Common and widespread.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Small numbers in various locations in the coastal plain.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
2 on the Farasan Islands.

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
3 Wadi Lajb.

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
1 at the lush wadi between Abha – Jizan.

Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
1 at the small pool near the Farasan Hotel.

Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos
Common and widespread.

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Singles at Tanumah and Al Habalah.

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
1 at the bottom of the Raydah escarpment, 3 at Tala Valley and one in Wadi Hali. At least 2 adult males were of the form samamisicus.

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
1 at a small pool near the Farasan Hotel.

Stonechat Saxicola torquata
Small numbers recorded in fields near the Raydah escarpment, the Tala Valley, a lush wadi between Abha and Jizan, and Wadi Hali.

South Arabian Wheatear Oenanthe lugentoides
Common and widespread in upland areas.

Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka
2 at Wadi Mahalah, 1 at a small pool near the Farasan Hotel, 1 at Tanumah

Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti
1 at Wadi Mahalah.

Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellinus
1-4 noted at several widespread sites.

Red-breasted Wheatear Oenanthe bottae
6 in fields at the Raydah escarpment.

Blackstart Cercomela melanura
1-2 noted at 4 sites.

Little Rock Thrush Monticola rufocinereus
1 at the bottom of the Raydah escarpment, 2 at the Tala Valley and 1 near Wadi Lajb were our only encounters with the species.

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
A juvenile was seen at Wadi Hali.

Yemen Thrush Turdus menachensis
6 at Raydah escarpment and 4 at the Shallal al Dahna waterfall.

Scrub Warbler Scotocerca inquieta
Singles in fields at Raydah and the Shallal al Dahna waterfall.

Graceful Prinia Prinia gracilis
1-3 at widespread locations.

Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
1 at Wadi Hali.

Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
2 in a well-vegetated wadi between Abha and Jizan.

Upcher’s Warbler Hippolais languida
Singles at the weighbridge wadi and Al Haraidah.

Yemen Warbler Parisoma buryi
Excellent views of 2 in fields at Raydah and Tala Valley. Also recorded at Tanumah.

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
3 at the bottom of Raydah escarpment and 1 at Tanumah.

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
1 at Wadi Mahalah.

Arabian Warbler Sylvia leucomelaena
2 at a lush wadi along the Abha – Jizan road and 1 at Wadi Hali.

Brown Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus umborvirens
Small numbers noted at Raydah and Tanumah.

Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
1-4 at widespread locations.

White-breasted White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus
15 at Raydah, 3 at Tanumah and 1 at Al Habalah.

Arabian Babbler Turdoides squamiceps
15 at Wadi Mahalah. Otherwise small numbers at several locations.

Tristrams Grackle Onychognathus tristramii
Common and widespread.

Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
A single flew over the weighbridge wadi.

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
1 at a lush wadi on the Abha – Jizan road.

Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus
1-3 recorded at several sites, including a lush wadi on the Abha – Jizan road, Farasan Islands, Al Haraidah and Wadi Hali. Three birds seen well enough for prolonged close study showed characters of the race isabellinus.

Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis
3 at Wadi Mahalah, 3 in the Al Birk area and several singles along the road in the coastal plain were the only sightings.

Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus
1 at Wadi Hali.

House Crow Corvus splendens
Small numbers recorded around Jizan and Al Birk.

Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis
Common and widespread.

Fan-tailed Raven Corvus rhipidrus
Common and widespread in upland areas. More frequently encountered in large flocks than Brown-necked.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Recorded almost daily.

Arabian Golden Sparrow Passer euchlorus
Good numbers present at a site near Sabya.

Arabian Waxbill Estrilda rufibarba
4 at Wadi Hali.

African Silverbill Lonchura cantans
Up to five seen at the weighbridge wadi, the lush wadi between Abha – Jizan and Wadi Hali.

Rüppell’s Weaver Ploceus galbula
Common and widespread.

Nile Valley Sunbird Anthreptes metallicus
Recorded in scrubby areas at low elevations.

Palestine Sunbird Nectarina osea
Surprisingly scarce. Noted at Wadi Hali.

Shining Sunbird Nectarina habessinica
1-3 at Wadi Mahalah, Raydah and Wadi Hali.

Arabian Serin Serinus rothschildi
12 at Wadi Mahalah, 1 at the bottom of the Raydah escarpment, 3 Wadi Lajb.

Yemen Serin Serinus menachensis
15 feeding outside the hotel at Tanoumah.

Yemen Linnet Carduelis yemenensis
Good numbers noted at Raydah and Tanoumah. Also a single at Wadi Mahalah.

Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana
3 at the lush wadi between Abha – Jizan.

House Bunting Emberiza striolata
1 at Wadi Hali.

African Rock Bunting Emberiza tahapisi
1 at Malaki Dam Lake, 3 at Wadi Hali and 1 at Tala Valley.

Total species: 171 + 1 heard only