A Birding Trip to Yemen 6-10 May 2009

A trip to Yemen 6-10 May 2009
Prepared by: AbdulRahman Al-Sirhan
Participants: Pekka Fågel and AbdulRahman Al-Sirhan
Taxonomy and order following Clements Checklist 6.3.2 December 2008. English names following IOC World Bird List.

Itinerary:
Day 1: 6 May 2009:
We arrived at Sanaa at 2pm, after some delay because of the swine flu check up, our photographic equipment caught their
attention so we had to wait for someone who more knowledgeable to approve our equipment. At the gate we met Yousuf Mohageb,
the Director of Arabian Ecotour who drove us directly towards Hammam Jarif a two hour drive. We arrived at Hammam Jarif at
5pm after some stopping to see some birds including our only pair of Arabian Partridge for the trip.
Hammam Jarif was a good starting point where we saw a number of birds. Back to the Sanna and spent the night at Felix Arabia
Hotel.

Day 2: 7 May 2009:
Because we had only one hour of birding at Hamman Jarif the day before, we decided to go to Hammam Jarif again. We arrived
at 7am after leaving the Hotel at 5:30am.
After having lunch we drove towards Jabal Saber for the endemic to Yemen the Arabian Accentor. We arrived at 4:09pm and
after 10 minutes walk we found the Arabian Accentor and the endemic Yemen Thrush, we then left the place at 05:56pm,
overnight at Taj Shamsan Hotel in Taiz.

Day 3: 8 May 2009:
We went to Wadi Dhabab for the Zebra Waxbill, and then drove to some dumping site where we found Tawny Eagle. We then left
towards Duba’â, around the huge baobab tree locally known as “Shajar Ghareeb”, in search of Bush Petronia but our efforts went in vail.
Arrived at Dhi as Safal at 01:35pm to find our first Arabian Woodpecker. Overnight at Sanaa.

Day 4: 9 May 2009:
We left our hotel at 6:22am to arrive at Kawkaban at 7:16am for the Partridges and Blanford’s Lark. We found seven Philby’s
Partridges and seven Blanford’s Larks. We then left towards Wadi Al-Ahjur where we saw three African Paradise Flycatchers
and five Arabian Woodpeckers.
We then went to Al-Rayadi Cliffs, to see the colony of the Griffin Vultures, in Al Mahweet . Overnight at Al-Mahweet.

Day 5: 10 May 2009:
We first went to Al-Rayadi Cliffs, then Wadi Garadh. In our last two hours in Yemen, we wanted to spend at Al-Ahjur to wait
for the Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak to come to drink at a small pool. After a wait of 75 minutes we finally had good
views of the bird and were able to photograph it. We then headed to the airport to arrive at three hours before flight;
the departure was at 12:30pm.

The species we found according to the Birding Sites we visited:
Hammam Jarif: 6 May 2009
Mourning Wheatear 6, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting 2 (in our way to Hammam Jarif), Tristram’s Starling 1, Arabian Partridge 2
(in our way to Hammam Jarif), Black Bush Robin 4, Blackstart 4, Ruppell’s Weaver 6, Graceful Prinia 3, Didric Cuckoo 1,
Bruce’s Green Pigeon 3, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting 6, Shining Sunbird 1, Arabian Waxbill 15, White-throated Bee-eater 1,
Green Bee-eater 2, Jacobin Cuckoo 2, Violet-Backed Starling 2, Dusky Turtle Dove 4, Red-eyed Dove 2, Grey-headed
Kingfisher 1, House Sparrow 3.

Hammam Jarif:  7 May 2009, 7:04am – 10.51am
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting 2, Blackstart 1, Didric Cuckoo 2, Jacobin Cuckoo 3, White-throated Bee-eater 3, Great Reed
Warbler 1, Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak 1, Palestine Sunbird 1, Southern Grey Shrike 2, Black Bush Robin 2, Bruce’s
Green Pigeon 3, Violet-Backed Starling  6, Arabian Waxbill 6, Eurasian Hoopoe 1, Arabian Babbler 1, Ruppell’s Weaver 7,
Grey-headed Kingfisher 4, White-spectacled Bulbul 5, Shining Sunbird 1, Graceful Prinia 5, Rupell’s Weaver 14, African
Silverbill 5, Laughing Dove 1, Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak 1.
Jabal Saber: 7 May 2009, 4:09am – 5:56pm
Arabian Accentor 4, Yemen Thrush 3, Yemen Linnet 5, African Stonechat 2, Abyssinian White-eye 5, White-spectacled Bulbul 1,
Dusky Turtle Dove 1, Eurasian Hoopoe 2, Little Swift 3.

Wadi Dhabab: 8 May 2009
Alpine Swift 4, Violet-Backed Starling 3, Green Bee-eater 3, Orange-breasted Waxbill 1, Arabian Serin 1, Gambaga Flycatcher 2,
Red-eyed Dove 1, Abyssinian White-eye 4, Black Kite 8, Graceful Prinia 2, Long-billed Pipit 1, African Grey Hornbill 1.
A dumping site en route to Wadi Dhabab: 8 May 2009
Fan-tailed Raven 20, Brown-necked Raven 35, Black Kite 15
At another dumping site en route to Wadi Dhabab: 8 May 2009
Tawny Eagle 2, Black Kite 20, Brown-necked Raven 3, Fan-tailed Raven 5, Violet-Backed Starling 2.

Duba: 8 May 2009
Crested Lark 1 but there were no Bush Petronia

Dhi as Safal: 8 May 2009
Long-billed Pipit 1, Whinchat 1, Blackstart 2, Little Rock Thrush 1, Alpine Swift 5, Yemen Serin1, Arabian Woodpecker 1,
Red-backed Shrike 1, Graceful Prinia 1, Gambaga Flycatcher 3, Tristram’s Starling 6, Mourning Wheatear 1, Collared Dove 1,
Eurasian Hoopoe 2, Common Pigeon 4, Crested Lark 1, Barn Swallow 1, Red-breasted Wheatear 1.

Kawkaban: 9 may 2009
Eurasian Hoopoe 1, Philby’s Partridge 7, Lesser Grey Shrike 1, Red-breasted Wheatear 7, Crested Lark 7, Blanford’s Lark 7,
Yemen Serin 6, Red-rumped Swallow 5, Palestine Sunbird 2, Yemen Linnet 2, Fan-tailed Raven 2, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting 1.

Al-Ahjur: 9 may 2009
European Reed Warbler 1, Little Rock Thrush 3, Violet-Backed Starling 4, Blackcap 1, Palestine Sunbird 4, Common Chiffchaff 1,
Marsh Warbler 1, Gambaga Flycatcher 2, Mourning Wheatear 2, Bruce’s Green Pigeon 1, African Paradise Flycatcher 3, Common
Redstart 1, Brown woodland Warbler 3, Arabian Woodpecker 5, Green Bee-eater 1, Yemen Thrush 1, Tristram’s Starling 4,
Eurasian Hoopoe 1, Scrub Warbler 1, White-throated Bee-eater 1, Western Osprey 1.

Al-Rayadi Cliffs: 9 may 2009
Red-backed Shrike 4, Abyssinian White-eye 3, Little Rock Thrush 1, Violet-Backed Starling 6, Mourning Wheatear 2, Fan-tailed
Raven 2, Yemen Thrush 2, Eurasian Hoopoe 1, Yemen Warbler 1.

Wadi Sare’e: 10 May 2009
Mourning Wheatear 3, Violet-Backed Starling 3, Little Swift 1, Tristram’s Starling 4, Abyssinian White-eye 1, Dusky Turtle
Dove 1, Collared Dove 3, Fan-tailed Raven 25, Cinnamon-breasted Bunting 2, Black Kite 2.

Wadi Al-Ahjur: 10 May 2009
Yemen Linnet 3, Didric Cuckoo 1, Fan-tailed Raven 1, Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak 1, Common Pigeon 1, Palestine Sunbird 2.

The Species:

Philby’s Partridge, Alectoris philbyi
An endemic species to South Arabia, 7 were seen at Kawkaban on 9 May.

Arabian Partridge, Alectoris melanocephala
An endemic species to South-west Arabia, 2 were seen in our way to Kawakaban on 6 May.

Western Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
1 at Al-Ahjur on 9 My.

Black Kite, Milvus migrans aegyptius
Common with a maximum of 20 at a dumping site en route to Wadi Dhabab on 8 May.

Tawny Eagle, Aquila rapax belisarius
2 En route to Wadi Dhabab at a duping site on 8 May.

Common Pigeon, Columba livia palaestinae
A flock of 4 were seen at Dhi as Safal on 8 May, another one at Wadi Al-Ahjur on 10 May, but common everywhere.

Dusky Turtle Dove, Streptopelia lugens
4 on 6 May at Hammam Jarif, 1 on 7 May at Jabal Saber.

Red-eyed Dove, Streptopelia semitorquata
2 at Hammam Jarif on 6 May, 1 on 8 May at Wadi Dhabab.

Laughing Dove, Streptopelia senegalensis senegalensis
1 at Hammam Jarif on 6 May.

Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Treron waalia
3 on 6 May and 7 May at Hammam Jarif, 1 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May.

Jacobin Cuckoo, Clamator jacobinus
2 on 6 May at Hammam Jarif, 3 at Hammam Jarif on 7 May.

Dideric Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx caprius
1 on 6 May at Hammam Jarif, 2 at Hammam Jarif on 7 May and 1 at Wadi Al-Ahjur on 10 May.

Little Swift, Apus affinis galilejensis
3 on our way to Jabal Saber on 7 May and 1 at Wadi Sare’e on 10 May.

Alpine Swift, Tachymarptis melba archeri
4 at Wadi Dhabab on 8 May and 5 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May

Grey-headed Kingfisher, Halcyon leucocephala semicaerulea
1 on 6 May and 3 on 7 May at Hammam Jarif. Endemic ssp. to South-west Arabia.

White-throated Bee-eater, Merops albicollis
1 on 6 May and 3 on 7 May at Hammam Jarif, and 1 on 9 May at Al-Ahjur.

Green Bee-eater, Merops orientalis cyanophrys
2 at Hamman Jarif on 6 May, 3 at Wadi Dhabab on 8 May and 1 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May.

Eurasian Hoopoe, Upupa epops
1 at Hammam Jarif on 7 May, 2 at Jabal Saber on 7 May, 2 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May, 1 at Kawkaban on 9 May, 1 at Al-Ahjur on9 May and 1 at Al-Riyadi Cliffs on 9 May.

African Grey Hornbill, Tockus nasutus nasutus
1 on 8 May at Wadi Dhabab.

Arabian Woodpecker, Dendrocopos dorae
1 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May and 5 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May. Endemic to South-west Arabia.

Red-backed Shrike, Lanius collurio
1 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May and 4 at Al-Rayadi Cliffs on 9 May.

Southern Grey Shrike, Lanius meridionalis buryi
2 at Hamman Jarif on 7 May.

Lesser Grey Shrike, Lanius minor minor
1 at Kawkaban on 9 May.

Brown-necked Raven, Corvus ruficollis
The maximum was 35 at a dumping site en route to Wadi Dhabab on 8 May.

Fan-tailed Raven, Corvus rhipidurus
The maximum was 25 at Wadi Sare’e on 10 May.

African Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis harterti
3 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May. Endemic ssp. to South-west Arabia.

Blanford’s Short-toed Lark, Calandrella blanfordi eremica
7 at Kawkaban on 9 May. Endemic ssp. to South-west Arabia.

Crested Lark, Galerida cristata brachyura
The maximum was 7 at Kawkaban on 9 May.

Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica
1 at Dhi as Safal on 9 May.

Red-rumped Swallow, Cecropis daurica
5 at Kawkaban on 9 May.

White-spectacled Bulbul, Pycnonotus xanthopygos
5 at Hammam Jarif on 7 May and 1 at Jabal Saber on 7 May.

Scrub Warbler, Scotocerca inquieta grisea
1 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May.

Graceful Prinia, Prinia gracilis yemenensis
The maximum was 5 at Hammam Jarif on 7 May.

Marsh Warbler, Acrocephalus palustris
1 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May.

Great Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus arundinaceus arundinaceus
1 at Hammam Jarif on 7 May.

Brown Woodland Warbler, Phylloscopus umbrovirens yemenensis
3 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May.

Common Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita
1 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May.

Yemen Warbler, Sylvia buryi
1 at Al-Rayadi Cliffs on 9 May.

Gambaga Flycatcher, Muscicapa gambagae
2 at Wadi Dhabab on 8 May, 3 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May and 2 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May.

Black Scrub Robin, Cercotrichas podobe melanoptera
4 on 6 May and 2 on 7 May at Hammam Jarif.

Common Redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus samamiscus
1 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May.

Mourning Wheatear, Oenanthe lugens lugentoides
6 at Hammam Jarif on 6 May, 1 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May, 2 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May, 2 at Al-riyadi Cliffs on 9 May and 3 at WadiSare’e on 10 May.

Red-breasted Wheatear, Oenanthe bottae bottae
1 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May and 7 at Kawkaban on 9 May.

African Stonechat, Saxicola torquatus felix
2 at Jabal Saber on 7 May.

Blackstart, Cercomela melanura neumanni
4 on 6 May, 1 on 7 May at Hammam Jarif and 2 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May.

Little Rock Thrush, Monticola rufocinereus sclateri
1 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May, 3 At Al-Ahjur on 9 May and 1 at Al-Rayadi Cliffs on9 May.

Yemen Thrush, Turdus menachensis
3 at Jabal Saber on 7 May, 2 at Al-Rayadi Cliffs on 9 May and 1 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May. Endemic to Yemen.

Arabian Babbler, Turdoides squamiceps yemenensis
1 at Hammam Jarif on 6 May.

Abyssinian White-eye, Zosterops abyssinicus arabs
5 at Jabal Saber on 7 May, 4 at Wadi Dhabab on 8 May, 3 at Al-Rayadi Cliffs on 9 May and 1 at Wadi Sare’e on 10 May.Endemic ssp.to Yemen.

Palestine Sunbird, Cinnyris osea osea
1 at Hamman Jarif on 7 May, 2 at Kawkaban on 9 May, 4 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May and 2 at Wadi Al-Ahjur on 10 May.

Shining Sunbird, Cinnyris habessinicus hellmayri
1 at Hamman Jarif on 6 and 7 May.

Violet-Backed Starling, Cinnyricinclus leucogaster arabicus
They are common with a maximum of 6 at Hammam Jarif on 7 May and at Al-Rayadi Cliffs on 9 May.

Tristram’s Starling, Onychognathus tristramii
1 at Hammam Jarif on 6 May, 6 at Dhi as Safal on 8 My, 4 at Al-Ahjur on 9 May and 4 at Wadi Sare’e on 10 May.

Arabian Accentor, Prunella fagani
4 at Jabal Saber on 7 May. Endemic to Yemen.

Long-billed Pipit, Anthus similis arabicus
1 at Wadi Dhabab on 8 May and 1 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May.

Cinnamon-breasted Bunting , Emberiza tahapisi Arabica
It was nearly seen everyday with a maximum of 6 at Hammam Jarif on 6 May.

Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak, Rhynchostruthus socotranus percivali
1 at Hammam Jarif on 7 May and 1 at Al-Ahjur on 10 May.

Yemen Linnet, Carduelis yemenensis
5 at Jabal Saber on 7 May, 2 at Kawkaban on 9 May and 3 at Al-Ahjur on 10 May.

Arabian Serin, Serinus rothschildi
1 at Wadi Dhabab on 8 May.

Yemen Serin, Serinus menachensis
1 at Dhi as Safal on 8 May and 6 at Kawkaban on 9 May.

Ruppell’s Weaver, Ploceus galbula
Were seen everywhere with a maximum of 7 at Hammam Jarif on 7 May.

Arabian Waxbill, Estrilda rufibarba
15 on 6 May and 6 on 7 May all at Hammam Jarif.

Orange-breasted Waxbill, Sporaeginthus subflavus subflavus
1 at Wadi Dhabab on 8 May.

African Silverbill, Euodice cantans orientalis
5 at Hammam Jarif on 7 May.

We highly recommend our tour operator Yousuf Mohageb who was very nice and genorous during our trip.
Yousuf Mohageb, Director of Arabian Eco-tours.
P. O. Box 5420
Sana’a, Republic of Yemen
Email: aet@y.net.ye
Tel: + 967 1 82 49 36
Tel / Fax ++967 1 326 134

The photographs

 Philby’s Partridge, Alectoris philbyi

The following photograph is by Pekka Fågel.

philbys_partridge 

Arabian Partridge, Alectoris melanocephala

 arabian_partridge_mg_7849

 Black Kite, Milvus migrans aegyptius

yellow_billed_kite_mg_8731_1

 Tawny Eagle, Aquila rapax belisarius

 tawny_eagle_mg_8800

Common Pigeon, Columba livia palaestinae

 rock_dove_mg_9399

 Dusky Turtle Dove, Streptopelia lugens

The following photograph is by Pekka Fågel

 dusky_turtle_dove_mg_7921

 Red-eyed Dove, Streptopelia semitorquata

The following photograph is by Pekka Fågel.

 red-eyed_dove_mg_8706

 

 Bruce’s Green Pigeon, Treron waalia

 bruces_green_pigeon_mg_7930_1

 Jacobin Cuckoo, Clamator jacobinus

 jacobin_cuckoo_mg_8183_1

 Dideric Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx caprius

 

 Grey-headed Kingfisher, Halcyon leucocephala semicaerulea

 

 White-throated Bee-eater, Merops albicollis

 

 

 Green Bee-eater, Merops orientalis cyanophrys

 

 African Grey Hornbill, Tockus nasutus nasutus

 

 Arabian Woodpecker, Dendrocopos dorae

 Male.

 Female.

The following photograph is by Pekka Fågel.

 Southern Grey Shrike, Lanius meridionalis buryi

 

 Fan-tailed Raven, Corvus rhipidurus

   African Paradise Flycatcher, Terpsiphone viridis harterti

Blanford’s Short-toed Lark, Calandrella blanfordi eremica

The following photograph is by Pekka Fågel.

 White-spectacled Bulbul, Pycnonotus xanthopygos

 Graceful Prinia, Prinia gracilis yemenensis

 Gambaga Flycatcher, Muscicapa gambagae

The following photograph is by Pekka Fågel.

 Black Scrub Robin, Cercotrichas podobe melanoptera

 Mourning Wheatear, Oenanthe lugens lugentoides

Red-breasted Wheatear, Oenanthe bottae bottae

 African Stonechat, Saxicola torquatus felix

 Blackstart, Cercomela melanura neumanni

 Little Rock Thrush, Monticola rufocinereus sclateri

 Yemen Thrush, Turdus menachensis

 Arabian Babbler, Turdoides squamiceps yemenensis

 Palestine Sunbird, Cinnyris osea osea

 Shining Sunbird, Cinnyris habessinicus hellmayri

Violet-Backed Starling, Cinnyricinclus leucogaster arabicus

 

 Arabian Accentor, Prunella fagani

The following photograph is by Pekka Fågel.

 Cinnamon-breasted Bunting , Emberiza tahapisi Arabica

 Socotra Golden-winged Grosbeak, Rhynchostruthus socotranus percivali

The following photograph of a juvenile is by Pekka Fågel.

 Yemen Linnet, Carduelis yemenensis

 Arabian Serin, Serinus rothschildi

 Yemen Serin, Serinus menachensis

The following photograph is by Pekka Fågel.

Ruppell’s Weaver, Ploceus galbula Male.

Female.

 Arabian Waxbill, Estrilda rufibarba

 African Silverbill, Euodice cantans orientalis

11 Comments

  1. Excellent photos of rare endemic birds not often seen on other sites. I like the Golden-winged Grosbeak, one of the birds i have never seen before.

  2. nice pics, i am sure you had a wounderful time with such atmosphere,i love birds specialy Southern Grey Shrike.

    well done

  3. Dear all,

    I am a french ornithologist (attaché to Paris museum) and having published a Monograph of the Finches (vol. 1). I am now working on the vol. 2 with all the Serinus and allied. In this way, I would love to reproduce some of your interesting finch (Yemen and Arabian serins). Would you agree?
    If you are interested, i propose you a pdf version of the vol. 1 (in 5 parts by mail) and of the vol. 2 when published (august 2010).
    Kind regards

    Michel Ottaviani: michel.ottaviani@orange.fr

  4. الاخ عبد الرحمن السرحان المحترم
    تحية طيبة
    رائعة تلك المعلومات عن رحلتك الى اليمن، ورائعة أيضاً تلك الصور الجميلة عن طيورها.
    تحياتي واحترامي
    عدوان شهاب

  5. Good informations with very accurate seeing site bravo for your extraordinary efforts and excellent job i been looking for such information since long time

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