Participants: Dave Adkin, Neil Bostock, Simon Colenutt, Roy Frost, Janos Olah, Phil Rostron, Zoli Ecsedi and JH
I had long wanted to visit Yemen, the home of 19 South Arabian endemics and near endemics, to see the birds and spectacular scenery, but had thought it too dangerous until hearing that friends Brian Foster and Dave Sargeant had been there fairly recently. Accordingly, I emailed Yousuf Mohageb [email protected], www.arabian_ecotours.com who assured me it was perfectly safe to visit the birding areas and gave me a very reasonable quote. I invited a number of friends to join me, and was surprised at the response, so finished up with a party of 8. We flew to Sana’a via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines for £380 including departure tax (booked with Dial-a- Flight), and Yousuf handled all the Yemen arrangements. The trip went extremely well, and I can’t praise Yousuf highly enough: he was very thoughtful, timely, considerate, flexible and spoke good English – could not be bettered. He was with us almost the whole 8 days on the mainland and arranged for Ahmed Saeed Sulaiman [email protected] to take over on Socotra. Although primarily a tour agent rather than a naturalist, Yousuf knew nearly all the birding sites formerly used by tour groups, and many of the birds, and was able to call David Stanton, an experienced resident birder, for additional information. Ahmed Saeed, another good English-speaker, was a very knowledgeable naturalist, and although unable to escort us for some of the time, organized our time on Socotra very well.
We found all the main target species, with only Jouanin's Petrel and Hume’s Owl not seen well. With a bit more time we could have had a more serious attempt for Arabian Bustard and gone east to the Empty Quarter to look for Dunn’s Lark and Sand Partridge. I finished up with a very respectable 25 ticks, with the likelihood of “Socotra” Scops-owl and Buzzard becoming full species one day, along with Arabian Wheatear and the two Golden-winged Grosbeak taxa. We had a surprising number of rare sightings, including Oriental Honey-buzzard and Black-winged Pratincole – “firsts” for Yemen – and the “Critically endangered” Sociable Plover, only recorded once before.
In conclusion, I can thoroughly recommend a trip to the scenically diverse, friendly and safe Yemen using Yousuf of Arabian Ecotours.
A visa can be obtained before departure from the Yemen embassy but EU citizens can buy it more cheaply on arrival at Sana'a Int. Airport for US$ 30/-.
The accommodation, twin bed rooms, was in decent hotels and guesthouses throughout and reasonable to good meals provided. Bottled water and soft drinks were readily available but Yemen is a strict Muslim country so alcohol is not on sale (other than in a few hotels in Aden which we did not have opportunity to visit). You can bring in alcohol for consumption in private.
Transportation was in two 4WD Toyota Land Cruisers. We had been offered a cheaper minibus but this would not have been a good idea as some of the time we drove on tracks through wadis rather than roads. The roads themselves were of quite a good standard and traffic mainly light except in Sana’a and Aden. The domestic flight from Sana’a – Socotra and return with Yemenia, booked by Yousuf, was fine and gave the only opportunity to see a few Yemeni women not concealed by burkas, the flight attendants, one of whom was especially attractive. We had to stop off in Aden on the way back because the Aden to Sana’a leg was full. This unplanned feature turned out to be a good move as we were able to visit the best wetland of the tour, where we had the rare sight of 6 Sociable Plover, not to mention very close views of a variety of gulls at the fish market. Socotra flights only run twice a week, so you have to settle for either a 3-4 day trip or a full week.
Insects were surprisingly scarce, especially mosquitoes, and there should be no need for malaria prophylactics at this time of year. The British health authorities say there is malaria below 2000m and “limited” risk on Socotra.
The weather was warm-hot during the daytime, chilly early and late when in the mountains away from the coast, and pretty hot on the coast. It was dry throughout, apart from early one morning and a few spots of rain, although exceptionally it had rained heavily for 5 days just before we arrived. The main rainy season should be July-Aug and the tourist season Sept-Dec.
There are some internet cafes including a cheap one just down the road to the left from our hotel in Al-Hodeidah and an expensive, slow one opposite the hotel on Socotra.
The few worthwhile trip reports include:-
Yemen, 17 Oct - 7 Nov 1992, John van der Woude
North Yemen 14 July to 6 August 1993, Ken Kraaijeveld
Yemen Bird Report May 10th to May 13th 2005, Brian Foster
Socotra, Yemen 12th - 20th January 2006, Dave Sargeant.
There are two important OSME publications:-
Sandgrouse No 9 (1987), devoted to Yemen – includes the status and distribution of all birds in North Yemen as known up to 1986.
Sandgrouse No 17 (1996), devoted to Southern Yemen and Socotra – includes the status and distribution of all birds in Socotra as known up to 1995.
The spelling of some of the place names varies so I have tended to use those quoted in these Sandgrouse volumes.
We are most grateful for help from Dave Farrow, Brian Foster, Rod Martins, Dave Sargeant and David Stanton.
13 Jan: Fly to Sana'a via Istanbul.
14 Jan: arrive 01.45, transfer to Hilltown Hotel, Sana'a; 09.00 drive to Shibam, bird wadi, Kawkaban road, lunch at Shibam, pm Kawkaban. Overnight at Funduk Hamida, Shibam.
15 Jan: Kawkaban then Al-Ahdjour till 15.00, drive to Al-Mahwit, bird acacia wood till dusk. O/n Al-Mahwit Hotel.
16 Jan: Al-Mahwit tip in Wadi Sare’e, El Rayadi cliffs, then most of day in Wadi Surdud; drive to Al-Hodeidah with stop at Bajil tip. O/n Ambassador Hotel.
17 Jan : Jabal Bura'a bay north of Al-Hodeidah, further north to Al-Kadana, Golden Sparrow site, back to the coast, then to Hodeidah sea-front and fish-market, dusk in coastal scrub south of Hodeidah. O/n Ambassador Hotel.
18 Jan: to Al-Hodeidah SF - Jabal Bura'a - Manakah – Al-Hajjirah for lunch, drive to Sana'a. O/n Hilltown Hotel.
19 Jan 2007: 05.00-07.30 fly Sana'a - Socotra. Dixem plateau, then coastal scrub and shore, dusk at palm plantation near Hadibu. O/n Taj Socotra Hotel, Hadibu.
20 Jan 2007: Dixem, on plateau till 13.30, sea-watch near Hadibu, Qrahan plain (JH). O/n Taj Socotra Hotel.
21 Jan 2007: drive to Qalansiyah, 2h 30m pelagic or sea-watch then most of the day in Wadi Ayhaft, dusk at coastal pool for sandgrouse spectacular. O/n Taj Socotra Hotel.
22 Jan: fly Socotra – Aden 09.00-12.00; Pizza Hut, fish market below Seera Island, then Aden Marsh (Aden as Sugrah). Fly Aden - Sana'a 19.15-20.15. O/n Hilltown Hotel.
23 Jan: Wadi Hamal a.m., Old Sana'a and Bait Baus p.m. O/n Hilltown Hotel.
24 Jan: Haman Jarif wadi a.m., lunch at restaurant in Sana'a, Bait Baus 16.00-19.00. Dinner in Sana'a, hotel 21.30-24.00, airport till 03.00 a.m. flight to Manchester via Istanbul.
We arrived at Sana’a at 01.45, took some time to get visas, and were met by Yousuf. After a short night in the comfortable Hilltown Hotel, we drove to Shibam, stopping for a group of Steppe Eagles, and part way up the hill to Kawkaban. Spent the rest of the morning on the road at the crossing point of the Shibam-Kawkaban footpath. The gully was very productive with many Arabian endemics: Yemen linnet, Yemen Warbler, Yemen Serin, Yemen Thrush and best of all, a pair of Yemen Accentor. After a good lunch in Shibam, we drove up to Kawkaban to look for Blanford’s Lark and Philby’s Partridge – no success but Lammergeier and Red-breasted Wheatear were seen. A short tour of the 15th century town followed - attractive houses but seen better days – then a walk down the steep footpath to the road, seeing Scrub warbler and all the earlier birds except the thrush. Watched the cliff-face at dusk and played Hume’s Owl tape. An owl flew across the top of the cliff but we could not decide whether it was Hume’s or Greyish/Spotted Eagle-owl as it appeared rather large. Dinner and night in Shibam.
After an early breakfast, we drove back up to the plateau and soon saw large numbers of Philby’s Partridges, with a few Arabian, coming down from the ridge into the arid fields. After some time with them, we drove a bit closer to Kawkaban to search for Blanford’s Lark. This took a bit of finding but two small groups were located. We returned to yesterday’s wadi, Yousuf continuing down to Shibam to buy supplies for lunch. Not so rewarding today with fewer birds, and no accentor or thrush. Yousuf returned eventually and we drove to the off-piste village of Al Ahdjour to check the acacia woodland for Arabian Woodpecker. This was soon found, along with Arabian Serin and Brown Woodland-Warbler, “aided” by numerous friendly locals. On the way out the front vehicle stopped at a drinking pool and the rear car further back to watch a Golden-winged Grosbeak apparently eating minerals from the floor of a cave. At this stage we were not using the radios so the first group missed the Grosser, thought at the time to be the most difficult endemic taxon. We then spent some hours looking for another, most getting a view of a single bird, before continuing the two hour drive to Al-Mahwit (2200m asl). We drove through the town to a nearby patch of acacia woodland. This was alive with birds including Yemen and Song Thrushes, Arabian Woodpecker again, Steppe Buzzard and African Stonechat. We left at dusk, just after I finally got a good view of a Yemen Thrush perched on the edge of a large bush, and returned to Al-Mahwit for the night.
At 06.15 we drove down for 40 mins to the rather unpleasant Al-Mahwit tip (1500m) and walked up the nearby Wadi Sare’e to look for Arabian Warbler. A singing male was finally found near to where the road crossed the wadi. Returning to Al-Mahwit, we stopped for a pair of rare Cinereous Buntings, ably spotted by Janos. Continuing to the village of El Rayadi, we stopped a little further on to look at the nest/ roost cliffs for Griffon Vultures. Only 2 vultures were to be seen, as at 10.00 we were probably too late, but the scenery was truly spectacular. Another hour’s drive took us to Wadi Surdud and most of the rest of the day was spent driving and birding along the wadi. There were plenty of birds in the better vegetated areas, notably African Grey Hornbill, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Black Scrub-Robin, Arabian Babbler, Common Redstart of the attractive samamisicus form, Masked and Southern Grey Shrikes, and Arabian Waxbill in a wetter area. We eventually crossed a river to join the tarred road, and followed the river down to Al-Hodeidah. A lengthy stop at another smelly tip at Bajil, was rewarding with lots of storks, mainly White plus a few Abdims, Steppe Eagles and our first Abyssinian Roller. A welcome meal of fish, shrimps and chips was consumed and our spirits leapt at the discovery that bottles of cold beer were available, only to be dashed when they came with the words “non-alcoholic” on the labels – who would have thought that Beck could be so devious.
We awoke to the unexpected sound of heavy rain and the sight of flooding outside. A leisurely breakfast was in order before we left under stormy clouds for Jabal Bura'a bay to the north of town. Here a muddy walk took us to the shore where a large number of shore birds could be scoped. Highlights were a large flock of Lesser Flamingos, a flight of 36 Cranes, a rarity in Yemen, a Goliath Heron and many ducks, gulls, including a lovely pink-breasted Slender-billed, and waders such as Crab Plover and Terek Sandpiper. We continued up the main road towards Saudi Arabia for 30 mins, stopping for Isabelline Wheatear and Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse, before turning east to the Tihama and stopping at a cattle-ranch between Al Dhahi and Al-Kadana. We looked around the farm buildings for feeding Arabian Golden Sparrows but only found gaudy male Ruppell's Weavers at work weaving their nests, White Wagtails and pristine House Sparrows. A lengthy walk on the opposite side of the road was very rewarding, with Menetries Warbler, Nile Valley Sunbird and our main objective, a large mobile flock of Golden Sparrows in the larger acacias, with a good number of stunning males. The supporting cast included Booted Eagle, Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse, Isabelline Shrike and for 2 lucky people, one of whom was stung quite badly by a bee, Oriental Honey-Buzzard and Orphean Warbler.
At 11.00 we returned to another bay on the coast. We had a picnic here while scoping a very good selection of birds: Pink-backed Pelican, Osprey, lots of terns including Saunder’s and gulls including Great Black-headed, and waders with Black-winged Pratincole and Broad-billed Sandpiper the pick. Returning to the main road, we had an hour’s stop for larks – mainly Black-crowned Sparrow-larks but a single Hoopoe Lark was seen, along with a Steppe Grey Shrike and 3 male Montys. Back to Al-Hodeidah, stopping at a wader pool with Stilts, Black-tailed Godwits and Ruffs, before heading to the sea-front. We soon had close views of White-eyed Gull here, with Brown Noddy, Arctic Skua and Brown Booby further out. Continued to the fish market, where Yousuf bought 3 big King Fish for our dinner. We drove south for some 10km, keeping straight on at the roundabout then forking left on a dirt road for c.2km to a small palm plantation with quite a few acacias, mostly small. At dusk we heard a Nubian Nightjar, at about 6 pm, and saw another flying up from the ground several times. Celebrated a great day, of 118 species, with lots of good food, but only water and Nescafe to drink.
Another 06.45 departure, to Al-Hodeidah Sewage Lagoons north of town. The large settling ponds held 1000s of waders, with stilts predominating, and 100s of Slender-billed Gulls. Highlights were 2 Collared Pratincole, 3 Red-necked Phalarope and our only Spotted Redshank. We drove back to Jabal Bura'a bay: there were fewer gulls and terns this time and no Goliath Heron, but far more Lesser Flamingos. We returned to Al-Hodeidah sea-front, to find many distant Noddies, harried by 2 Arctic Skuas, but few White-eyed Gulls. We started the journey back to Sana’a and after a while took a track to the south off the main road, stopping at a high point to scan for Arabian Bustard. Yousuf talked to a local who claimed to have seen 6 in flight at dawn! We were evidently too late but a pair of Pied Wheatear and a hunting male Pallid Harrier were some consolation.
After a long drive through the Haraz mountains we reached Manakha where we stopped for a big lunch in a mafraj room at a tourist hotel. A male group entertained us with traditional music, including a type of banjo called an ‘ut, and then battle dances with knives and rifles displayed. A short drive up the hill took us to the spectacular medieval town of Al-Hajjirah. Its photogenic appearance was partly spoilt by low cloud and a profusion of wires and pipes. We left at 4 pm and drove on through the mountains to Sana’a, arriving at 06.30. At a pee stop we fortuitously found an Arabian Warbler and 4 Grosbeaks on the Euphorbia-clad hillside. The Grosbeaks were watched for 15 mins, singing and feeding a begging juv, before all flying away for a long distance. Supper was chicken and chips at the Hilltown Hotel.
After little sleep due to loud Yemeni music at a nearby wedding celebration, we were “woken” by an unsolicited call from reception at 02.45, prior to our departure for the airport by coach at 03.30. We were greeted by Yousuf who had already checked us in for our Yemenia flight to Socotra. This left on time at 05.00, arriving at 07.30 after a 45 min stop on the south coast. We were met by Ahmed, and after an hour awaiting bags, set off for Dixem on the Hamadiroh plateau (1000m), along with Ian Sinclair and Hans Jornvall who had arrived on our flight. Our first stop amidst the Dragon Blood trees gave Socotra Warbler and Sunbird, then we spent 4 hours walking the scenic rocky plateau, finding a few Socotra Buntings and many Somali Starlings, along with the endemic Buzzard taxon. Tame Egyptian Vultures attended our picnic lunch. In the afternoon we dropped down to the coastal scrub where Socotra Cisticolas were singing like Zitting Cisticolas, and Socotra Cormorants and Great Crested Terns loafed on the shore. After checking in at the hotel, we drove east to Wadi Shoq, a nearby date-palm plantation, at dusk. AScops-Owl soon responded to Ian’s tape, followed by another, and gave good views - a fine end to the day.
We returned to Dixem at 06.15, without Ahmed who did a pelagic with Ian and Hans. We birded here till 11.00 and were able to watch a Socotra Bunting feed at a small farm with areas of short grass. The other highlight was a single elusive Golden-winged Grosbeak which returned to a line of bushes on several occasions, followed by a small party found feeding further back along the trail. Our drivers and 2 local farmers killed a kid goat, cut it up (much to Neil’s fascination) and boiled it. This was offered as a supplement to our picnic, though not accepted by many. After lunch we drove down to the coast and sea-watched for the most of the afternoon. Birds were rather distant and included a few Masked Boobies, Persian Shearwaters, and a single Red-billed Tropicbird and Jouanin’s Petrel for a few, plus a whale for Simon. Two pairs of Cream-coloured Coursers were nesting near the shore but as the birds were not very approachable, I elected to visit the nearby Qrahan Plain to try to photo one from the vehicle. I succeeded in doing this but by the time we’d stopped for petrol and found a Courser, it was too dim for decent photography. Back at the hotel, Ian spoke glowingly about the pelagic – they’d had stellar views of shearwaters and petrels in very choppy conditions. We decided to try it the following morning.
Departing at 06.00, we drove through boring Croton scrub with scattered Frankincense trees on the newly paved road to Qalansiyah. Neil, Roy, Phil and I boarded a small boat, with Ahmed and boatman, for the 2h30m pelagic – quite rough but not as bad as yesterday. Apart from 2 Masked Booby flying over the boat, birding was poor until returning towards the shore when we ran into a large raft of Persian Shearwater, a few dolphins and had 2 brief sightings of petrels. The others saw more from the nearby cliffs, albeit further away, and found some good birds for Socotra at the lagoon, eg Intermediate Egret, Coot and Curlew Sandpiper. We returned to the airport, turned inland and drove up Wadi Ayhaft, a lovely gorge with a high variety of mature green trees. We stopped to watch a feeding Socotra Bunting – at 200m asl, a low altitude for this sp. – and Bruce’s Green Pigeons. Parking at the end of the track, we soon saw 3 Grosbeaks, one of which sun-bathed for several mins, then had our picnic lunch. Five of the group drove back to the coast, to photo the coursers and sea-watch, while Dave, Phil and I walked slowly down the track – good views of Buzzard, a Shrike impaling and eating young bird, Socotra Warbler and more common species. Picked up by Ahmed, we drove back to meet the others at 5pm, then further west to a coastal pool where we sat down to await the arrival of Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse. They started to come at late dusk and noisily gathered to drink in their hundreds, illuminated by the headlamps of our vehicles. Back at the hotel we had a good fish supper.
At 06.30 after breakfast, we proceeded to the chaotic check-in for the 09.00 flight to Sana’a. I spent the waiting time photographing pipits, Desert Wheatears and Sparrow-larks in the grassland outside. Left at 09.15 and arrived in Aden at noon after one stop. We had to leave here as the continuing flight would be full. Yousuf had arranged for 2 taxis to meet us, a good thing as we had to keep our bags with us, being unable to check them in for the evening flight, no luggage store. We drove to Pizza Hut for lunch as it was near to a birding spot. Slow service and indifferent pizza but the nearby fish-market was ideal for gull photography and 1 White-eyed was present. From here we drove to Aden Marsh (as Sugrah), stopping illicitly on the causeway across the sea, to check the flats which held flamingos and many waders. The marsh was beyond what appeared to be a large area of reclaimed rubbish tip. We were met here by a local warden who showed us the way to the sanctuary. Some trees held Glossy Ibis and egrets, giving great views, while the marsh was alive with waders. The biggest prize was 6 Sociable Plover and 4 White-tailed Plover, all of which flew to the adjacent largely bare wasteland where they could be studied at leisure. A flock of rapidly declining Sociables is a rare treat anywhere these days (except Syria). We drove to the airport 4.30-5.00, paying $50 per taxi, only to find we were still too early to check-in for the 7.15 flight. Did so eventually, then tried to leave to go across to the airport hotel for a beer, as Aden is the only place where alcohol is sold, though only in a few hotels. We were not allowed out! The flight landed in Sana’a at 8.15 and Yousuf took us to the Hilltown Hotel again.
The next morning at 07.45 we left for Wadi Hamal, where a Lammergeier was said to be nesting. We walked up the terraced wadi, finding a woodpecker in the acacias, then watched for raptors from various hillside vantage points. Golden and Steppe Eagles were seen by some but the only possible Lammergeier was rather brief. Still, it was nice to see the “usual” upland suspects again, in a nice setting. Yousuf had arranged a good lunch in a Yemeni restaurant in Sana’a: steamed lamb and veg with crème caramel for afters. Spent two hours in the fascinating old city exploring the medinas and souks – photogenic buildings and people but rather scruffy environment. Farewell to Simon who had to return home to work, while we drove a short distance out of Sana’a up to the largely abandoned fortified village of Bait Baus. The target here was African Scops-Owl but was unobliging. However, a Hume’s Tawny Owl did respond to play-back, just as we were leaving so we returned to the cliff-face and succeeded in flushing one from its relatively low, unseen perch, getting torchlight views in flight. We vowed to return on the morrow. Dined on good kebabs in a restaurant in the old town, accompanied by an ‘ut player.
On the final day, we tried another wadi (1500m asl), Haman (= steam bath) Jarif, arriving at 09.00 after a long drop through arid country. A stream ran through the wadi and some vehicles used it as a road. Arabian Serins, Waxbills and even a Grosbeak drank cautiously from the stream. I spent some time with the large flock of waxbills, also seeing Shikra, Blackstart, Babbler and Black Scrub-Robin, while the others carried on into the wadi proper, beyond the hot springs. Here they had Bonelli’s Eagle, Desert Lark and Striolated Bunting. We returned to Sana’a 11.45-1.15 and lunched at the hotel. I walked to the old town for further exploration and we all left for scenic Bait Baus at 3.45. We stayed here till dark with scant reward – no sign or response from the owl, though our prospects were not helped by the presence of a “friendly” party of local young men during the critical dusk period. Leaving at 7 pm, we reached the impressive Arabian Felix Hotel in old Sana’a for our last supper, joined by David Stanton. After a good meal, we returned to the Hilltown for a bit of sleep, before leaving for the airport at midnight. The flight home, leaving on time at 3 am, was fine.
As the status of species in Yemen has been reported by OSME in 3 different areas, I have done the same here and refer to OSME and Dave Sargeant (DS) reports when of interest:
We visited 2 bays north of Al-Hodeidah, Jabal Bura'a on 17th and again on 18th along with another 20+ km further north. As I failed to record the sightings separately on 17th, they are mostly listed here as northern bays.
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
NY: 10 at Al-Hodeidah Sewage Lagoons (SL)
Jouanin's Petrel Bulweria fallax
S: 1 east of Hadibu, 2 on the pelagic and 2 from the sea-watch at Qalansiyah.
Persian Shearwater Puffinus persicus
S: 6 east of Hadibu, 500+ off Qalansiyah.
Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus
S: 1 east of Hadibu.
Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus
NY: 2 at Al-Hodeidah SL; “rare or uncommon on the coast” (OSME).
Pink-backed Pelican Pelecanus rufescens
NY: 40 at northernmost bay, Al-Hodeidah on 17th and 10 at Jabal Bura'a bay, Al-Hodeidah. On 18th
Masked Booby Sula dactylatra
S: 20 east of Hadibu, 10 from Qalansiyah.
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
NY: 10 off Al-Hodeidah. S: 2 east of Hadibu, 5 from Qalansiyah.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
NY: 1 at Al-Hodeidah; not listed by OSME.
Socotra Cormorant Phalacrocorax nigrogularis Vulnerable
SY: 1 at Aden. S: up to 50 daily on the coast.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Scattered records throughout, with 25 in the Aden area and up to 4 daily on Socotra.
Goliath Heron Ardea goliath
NY: 1 at Jabal Bura'a bay north of Al-Hodeidah on 17th.
Great Egret Ardea alba
NY: 1 at Jabal Bura'a bay.
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia
S: 1 at Qalansiyah. Not listed by OSME but DS had 2.
Western Reef-Heron Egretta gularis
Scattered records on the coast throughout, with 15 in the Aden area, and 1 or 2 well inland up the river from Al-Hodeidah.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
NY: scattered records throughout, notably common along the river into Al-Hodeidah.
SY: 10 at Aden. S: 1 on 20th and 2 on 21st; “a scarce passage migrant” (OSME).
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Common on the mainland but only found around Qalansiyah, c.40, on Socotra; only 2 records, of singles on Socotra in OSME but DS saw up to 22.
Striated Heron Butorides striata
NY: 2 at Jabal Bura'a bay. SY: 1 at Aden.
Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
SY: 2 at Aden Marsh; only 3 previous records (OSME).
Hamerkop Scopus umbretta
NY: 2 along the river into Al-Hodeidah.
Abdim's Stork Ciconia abdimii
NY: 6 at Bajil dump and 1 Al-Hodeidah S.L.; “summer visitor, earliest record 14 Feb”.
White Stork Ciconia ciconia
NY: 100 at Bajil tip, 3 near Al-Hodeidah on 17th and numerous at Al-Hodeidah SL.
Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus
NY: 2 at Jabal Bura'a bay both days; “vagrant or very rare breeder”. SY: 2 at Aden Marsh; “vagrant or irregular visitor”.
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
SY: 60 at Aden Marsh; only 7 records (OSME).
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
NY: 20 at Jabal Bura'a bay. SY: 12 at Aden.
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus
NY: 6 at Jabal Bura'a bay. SY: 30 at Aden.
Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor Near-threatened
NY: 100 at Jabal Bura'a bay on 17th, with 800? on 18th and 100? at Al-Hodeidah SL; not listed by OSME!. SY: 100 at Aden; “an irregular visitor”.
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
NY: 20 at Al-Hodeidah SL; only 4 records to 1985 (OSME).
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
NY: 3 at Jabal Bura'a bay on 17th and 5 on 18th.
Gadwall Anas strepera
NY: 1 at Jabal Bura'a bay on 17th and 4 on 18th; only 4 records (OSME).
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
NY: 10 at Al-Hodeidah SL.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
NY: 10 at Al-Hodeidah SL.
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
NY: 3 at Jabal Bura'a bay on 17th and 6 on 18th. SY: 4 at Aden.
Garganey Anas querquedula
NY: 3 at Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 2 at Aden Marsh. S: 2 near Hadibu and 12 at Qalansiyah; only OSME record is 1 in March but DS had 3 in Jan 06
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
NY: abundant at northern bays and Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 20 at Aden.
Common Pochard Aythya ferina
NY: 1 at Jabal Bura'a bay on 17th and 12 at Al-Hodeidah SL.
Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca Near-threatened
NY: 15 at Al-Hodeidah SL.
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
NY: 2 at Jabal Bura'a bay.
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
NY: 2 at the northern bays on both dates. SY: 10 at Aden. S: 1 perched west of Hadibu on 22nd.
Oriental/Crested Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
NY: 1 photographed while watching the Arabian Golden-Sparrows, soared up from canopy height (JH). First record for Yemen, identity confirmed by Bill Clark and Dick Forsman; considered a vagrant in the Middle East till recently when an increasing number of records have been accepted. Eurasian Honey Buzzard was regarded as an uncommon passage migrant only recorded in autumn (OSME).
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
NY: 1 in Wadi Surdud.
Black Kite Milvus migrans
NY: widespread and fairly numerous. SY: 20 at Aden.
Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus
NY: singles at Kawkaban and Wadi Hamal (PR).
Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
NY: 2 at Mahwit tip. S: numerous throughout with over 100 counted on 20th.
Eurasian Griffon Gyps fulvus
NY: 4 at Kawkaban, 9 Mahwit area and at least 2 at Wadi Hamal.
Western Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus
NY: 1 at Jabal Bura'a bay.
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus Near-threatened
NY: a male hunting at the Bustard site; “only occasional winter records”.
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus
NY: 3 males and a female on the grassland north of Al-Hodeidah and 1 at the northernmost bay.
Dark Chanting-Goshawk Melierax metabates
NY: 5 north of Al-Hodeidah on 17th and 2 on 18th.
Shikra Accipiter badius
NY: 2 singles at Haman Jarif and 1 at Bait Baus.
Eurasian/Steppe Buzzard Buteo buteo
NY: singles at Mahwit and north of Al-Hodeidah on 18th.
Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
NY: singles near Mahwit on 15th and 16th and north of Al-Hodeidah on 18th
Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax
NY: singles near Kawkaban, Mahwit and north of Al-Hodeidah.
Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis
NY: 10 between Sana’a and Kawkaban, 2 at Kawkaban, 10 at Bajil tip, 1 north of Al-Hodeidah and 6 at Wadi Hamal.
Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca Vulnerable
SY: an immature over Aden Marsh; “probably a rare winter visitor”.
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
NY: 2 at Wadi Hamal.
Verreaux's Eagle Aquila verreauxii
NY: 1 at Al-Ahdjour (RAF).
Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciatus
NY: 1 at Kawkaban and 2 at Wadi Jarif.
Booted Eagle Aquila pennatus
NY: 1 at Al-Kadana.
Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Up to 4 almost daily throughout.
Philby's Partridge Alectoris philbyi
NY: 40 near Kawkaban and 1 at Haman Jarif wadi.
Arabian Partridge Alectoris melanocephala
NY: 6 near Kawkaban.
Common Crane Grus grus
NY: 36 at Jabal Bura'a bay on 17th plus at least 1 calling near the other bay; only 3 previous records (OSME).
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
NY: 6 at Al-Hodeidah SL.
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
NY: 15 at Al-Hodeidah SL. S: 2 at Qalansiyah; appears to be a new record for Socotra!
Crab Plover Dromas ardeola
NY: 2 at Jabal Bura'a bay.
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
SY: 4 near Aden fish market.
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
NY: 15 at the northern bays, 100 at Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: numerous at Aden.
S: 4 near Hadibu, 30 at Qalansiyah.
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
SY: 4 at Aden Marsh.
Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor
S: 2 pairs incubating nests (1 with 2 eggs) next to the shore c. 10 km east of Hadibu and 1 on Qrahan Qain plain.
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola
NY: 2 at Al-Hodeidah SL; only 6 previous records, from 13 Sep – 21 Oct (OSME).
Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni Near-threatened
NY: 14 at northernmost bay; not listed by OSME, new record for Yemen? If accepted.
Spur-winged Plover Vanellus spinosus
NY: 10 north of Al-Hodeidah.
Sociable Plover Vanellus gregarius Critically endangered
SY: flock of 6 at Aden Marsh; only record for Yemen, apart from 1 collected by the infamous Meinertzhagen on 18.01.1927, is 2 seen by David Stanton at Aden.
White-tailed Plover Vanellus leucurus
SY: 4 at Aden Marsh; only 1 record according to OSME but a winter visitor and/or passage migrant in small numbers to North Yemen.
Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva
SY: 50 at Aden Marsh. S: 2 at Qalansiyah; “scarce passage migrant” with only 3 records (OSME)
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
NY: 30 at the northern bays. SY: 2 at Aden
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
NY: 50 at the northern bays. SY: 10 at Aden. S; 2 at Qalansiyah.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
SY: 1 at Aden Marsh. S; 3 near Hadibu
Kentish/Snowy Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
NY: numerous at the northern bays. SY: 100 at Aden. S; 5 near Hadibu, 3 at Qalansiyah.
Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus
NY: 60 at the northern bays. SY: 50 at Aden.
Greater Sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii
NY: 40 at the northern bays. SY: 2 at Aden.
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
SY: 1 at Aden Marsh. S: 9 at Qalansiyah.
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa Near-threatened
NY: 70 at the northern bays; “rather scarce winter visitor in small numbers”. SY: 60 at Aden.
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
NY: 30 at the northern bays. SY: 25 at Aden.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
NY: 20 at the northern bays. SY: 10 at Aden. S; 1 or 2 daily on the coast.
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
NY: 50 at the northern bays. SY: 25 at Aden. S: 2 singles on the coast.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
NY: 1 at Al-Hodeidah SL; “only 3 Dec-Jan records”.
Common Redshank Tringa totanus
NY: 10 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 10 at Aden. S: 5 at Qalansiyah.
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
NY: 2 at the northern bays. SY: 2 at Aden Marsh.
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
NY: 15 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 5 at Aden. S: singles near Hadibu, 15 at Qalansiyah.
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
NY: singles near Kawkaban, Mahwit, Al-Hodeidah SL and 4 at Wadi Jarif. S: 1 at Qalansiyah.
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
NY: 3 at the northern bays, 1 at Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 50 at Aden. S: 1 at Qalansiyah; not mentioned by OSME but DS had 3 records.
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus
NY: 40 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 1 at Aden.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
NY: 10 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 5 at Aden. S: 10 at Qalansiyah.
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
NY: 2 at the northern bays. SY: 1 at Aden. S: singles at Hadibu and Qalansiyah.
Red Knot Calidris canutus
NY: 2 at Jabal Bura'a bay; only 1 previous record, 19 on 10.01.82.
Sanderling Calidris alba
NY: 1 at Jabal Bura'a bay.
Little Stint Calidris minuta
NY: 200 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 100 at Aden. S: 5 at Qalansiyah; not mentioned by OSME but DS had up to 25+.
Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii
SY: 1 heard at Aden Marsh. S: 2 at sandgrouse pool near Hadibu.
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
NY: 80 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: numerous at Aden. S: 5 at Qalansiyah; appears to be the first record for Socotra!
Dunlin Calidris alpina
NY: 100 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL.
Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus
NY: 1 at the northernmost bay.
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
NY: 20 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 300 at Aden; “passage migrant and winter visitor in very small numbers”. S: 10 at Qalansiyah; not mentioned by OSME but DS had 2 records of singles.
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
NY: 3 at Al-Hodeidah SL; only 4 previous records (OSME).
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
NY: 2 off Hadibu on 17th and 4 on 18th.
White-eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus Near-threatened
NY: 10 at Al-Hodeidah seafront on 16th pm and 5 there a.m. on 17th.
SY: 1 at Aden fish market.
Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii
Numerous on the coasts.
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis or barabensis
NY: 1+ at northernmost bay. SY: 2 at Aden fish-market. S: 1 near Hadibu; not mentioned by OSME.
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
NY: 1 at Al-Hodeidah. SY: 1 at Aden.
Heuglin's Gull Larus heuglini
NY: 40 at the northern bays. SY: numerous at Aden. S: common along the coast.
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans
NY: 3 at Al-Hodeidah. ??
Great Black-headed Gull Larus ichthyaetus
NY: 1 at northernmost bay; “rather rare winter visitor”.
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
NY: 50 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: numerous at Aden. S: 2 at Qalansiyah; OSME had the first record, of 2, but DS had up to 12.
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei
NY: 150 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 50 at Aden.
Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica
NY: 20 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 10 at Aden.
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
NY: 20 at the northern bays. SY: 5 at Aden.
Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis
NY: 20 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 2 at Aden. S: 100 at Qalansiyah.
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
NY: 10 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 1 at Aden. S: 20 at Qalansiyah.
Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii
NY: 3 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 20 at Aden. S: 50 at Habidu and Qalansiyah.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
NY: 3 at Al-Hodeidah. S: 3 on the pelagic from Qalansiyah; not mentioned by OSME but DS had 3 singles.
Saunders's Tern Sterna saundersi
NY: 50 at the northern bays.
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus
NY: 10 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL; S: 1 at Qalansiyah; not mentioned by OSME but DS had one at Qalansiyah.
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
NY: 25 at the northern bays/ Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 1 at Aden marsh.
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
NY: 1 at Al-Hodeidah SL; 2 on 2-12.12.82 was the only previous record (OSME).
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus
NY: 140 at Al-Hodeidah.
Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus
NY: 1 east and 40 north of Al-Hodeidah.
Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse Pterocles lichtensteinii
NY: 5 at Al-Kadana. S: 1 at Wadi Ayhaft, at least 500 gathered to drink at a pool west of Hadibu at nightfall.
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Common throughout on the mainland.
Dusky Turtle-Dove Streptopelia lugens
NY: 2 at Al-Mahwit, 10 Wadi Surdud, 2 west of Al-Hodeidah and at Wadi Hamal, and 20 at Haman Jarif.
African Collared-Dove Streptopelia roseogrisea
NY: common north of Al-Hodeidah.
Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
NY: 3 near Al-Mahwit, 12 Wadi Surdud.
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Fairly common and widespread throughout.
Namaqua Dove Oena capensis
NY: 10 north of Al-Hodeidah on 17th and 3 on 18th.
Bruce's Green-Pigeon Treron waalia
S: 6 in Wadi Ayhaft.
White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus
NY: 1 Wadi Sare’e and 3 Wadi Surdud.
“Socotra”/ African Scops-Owl Otus socotranus/senegalensis
S: 2, seen in palm plantation east of Hadibu, called differently from senegalensis.
Greyish (Spotted) Eagle-Owl Bubo cinerascens(africanus)
NY: 1 on the road at night below Bait Baus.
Hume's Owl Strix butleri
NY: 1 on the cliffs at night at Bait Baus, calling occasionally. An owl in flight at Kawkaban was probably this sp. but could have been Bubo cinerascens; the first record for N Yemen was 1 heard at dusk “from the steep rock face just below Kawkaban on 7 and 9 Nov 1985”, ie probably exactly the same place as this silent bird.
Nubian Nightjar Caprimulgus nubicus
NY: 1 observed at dusk c.15km south of Al-Hodeidah in coastal scrub with a few palm trees, and another heard there.
African Palm-Swift Cypsiurus parvus
NY: 10 near Al-Hodeidah. SY: 2 at Aden; not listed by OSME.
Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba
NY: 5 at Kawkaban on 14th and 2 on 15th.
Little Swift Apus affinis
NY: 3 at Al-Hodeidah and 2 at Haman Jarif.
Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis
NY: 8 at Wadi Surdud, 10 north of Al-Hodeidah, 1 at Wadi Hamal, 2 Haman Jarif.
Abyssinian Roller Coracias abyssinica
NY: 1 at Bajil Tip, 3 near Al- Khada north of Al-Hodeidah.
Hoopoe Upupa epops
NY: 1 at Al-Kadana north of Al-Hodeidah.
African Grey Hornbill Tockus nasutus
NY: 10 Wadi Surdud, 1 Al-Kadana and 4 at Haman Jarif.
Arabian Woodpecker Dendrocopos dorae Vulnerable
NY: 2 seen and 1 heard at Al-Ahdjour, singles Al-Mahwit and Wadi Hamal.
Singing Bushlark Mirafra cantillans
NY: up to 5 north of Al-Hodeidah.
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix nigriceps
NY: 20 north of Al-Hodeidah. SY: 3 at Aden Marsh. S: up to 20 daily.
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti
NY: 8 at Haman Jarif wadi.
Greater Hoopoe-Lark Alaemon alaudipes
NY: 2 singles north of Al-Hodeidah.
Blanford's Lark Calandrella blanfordi
NY: two groups of 6 at Kawkaban.
Crested Lark Galerida cristata
NY: widespread and common. SY: 1 at Aden Marsh.
Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne fuligula
NY: up to 10 daily in the mountains. S: 3 on Dixem plateau.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
NY: 2 Al-Hodeidah SL.
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica
NY: 2 at Kawkaban and 1 near Al-Mahwit.
White Wagtail Motacilla alba
NY: 1 at Kawkaban, 2 Al-Mahwit tip, 2-3 north of Al-Hodeidah and at Haman Jarif. SY: 1 at Aden. S: 12 at Qalansiyah.
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
NY: 3 Al-Hodeidah SL. SY: 10 “black-headed” at Aden.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
NY: 2 or 3 in the highlands most days. S: 1 at Wadi Ayhaft; OSME recorded the first for Socotra, a single.
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris
NY: 1 near Al-Mahwit tip, up to 3 north of Al-Hodeidah.
Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis
NY: 2 at Kawkaban and Haman Jarif. S: fairly common throughout.
A possible split from the African forms.
Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
SY: 1 at Aden Marsh; “scarce passage migrant in spring, recorded Feb-May”.
White-spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos
Common and widespread throughout mainland Yemen.
Yemen Accentor Prunella fagani Near-threatened
NY: at least 2 in the wadi between Shibam and Kawkaban.
Little Rock-Thrush Monticola rufocinereus
NY: up to 4 daily in the highlands.
Blue Rock-Thrush Monticola solitarius
NY: up to 3 daily in the mountains. S: 1in Wadi Ayhaft; not listed by OSME but DS had 2 records.
Yemen Thrush Turdus menachensis Vulnerable
NY: 2 in the wadi between Shibam and Kawkaban and 2 roosting in acacias near Al-Mahwit.
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
NY: 4 roosting in Acacias near Al-Mahwit; “scarce winter visitor”.
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
NY: heard at Al-Hodeidah SL.
Socotra Cisticola Cisticola haesitatus Near-threatened
S: 20 in the coastal scrub near Habidu.
Socotra Warbler Incana incanus
S: 8 on or near the Dixem plateau and 2 in Wadi Ayhaft.
Streaked Scrub-Warbler Scotocerca inquieta
NY: 4 in the wadi between Shibam and Kawkaban, 2 at Bait Baus.
Graceful Prinia Prinia gracilis
Fairly common and widespread throughout mainland Yemen.
Clamorous Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus
SY: a large warbler heard singing at Aden Marsh was thought to be this sp. rather than A. arundinaceus ; only the latter is listed by OSME: “a passage migrant recorded in Sept, Oct and Feb” but stentoreus is considered “a not-uncommon winter visitor to coastal mangroves” in N Yemen.
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
NY: 2 Wadi Surdud and 1 at Al-Kadana.
Brown Woodland-Warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens
NY: 2 in the wadi between Shibam and Kawkaban, Al-Mahwit acacias and Wadi Hamal.
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
NY: 2 in the wadi between Shibam and Kawkaban.
Yemen Warbler Sylvia buryi Vulnerable
NY: 2 in the wadi between Shibam and Kawkaban, and at Al-Mahwit acacias.
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
NY: 6 near Kawkaban, 4 near Al-Mahwit, 1 at Al-Kadana.
Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris
NY: 1 at Al-Kadana (SC); only 3 previous records (OSME).
Arabian Warbler Sylvia leucomelaena
NY: at least 4 at Wadi Sare’e, 1 at a pee-stop in the Haraz mountains
Menetries's Warbler Sylvia mystacea
NY: at least 10 in the Al-Kadana area.
Black Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas podobe
NY: 4 Wadi Surdud, 2 Al-Kadana, 2 north of Al-Hodeidah, and 2+ at Haman Jarif.
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
NY: 1 near Kawkaban.
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
NY: 4 at Al-Mahwit, 5 Wadi Surdud and 1at Al-Kadana.
African Stonechat Saxicola torquata felix
NY: a pair at Al-Mahwit.
Arabian (Mourning) Wheatear Oenanthe (lugens) lugentoides
NY: common throughout the highlands with a few in the lowlands.
Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka
NY: 2 north of Al-Hodeidah (Arabian Bustard site). S: 1 near the Dixem plateau.
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti
NY: 1 north of Al-Hodeidah. S: fairly common throughout with up to 20 daily.
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
NY: 5 north of Al-Hodeidah. S: up to 3 daily; only 3 records according to OSME but DS had up to 4.
Red-breasted Wheatear Oenanthe bottae
NY: fairly common in the highlands, eg 8 near Kawkaban and 4 at Haman Jarif.
Blackstart Cercomela melanura
NY: 2 at Al-Ahdjour,10 Wadi Surdud, 1 north of Al-Hodeidah and 10 Haman Jarif.
African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis
NY: 3 in Wadi Surdud.
Arabian Babbler Turdoides squamiceps
NY: 8 at Wadi Surdud, 10 Al-Kadana area, 4 Wadi Hamal and Haman Jarif.
Nile Valley Sunbird Hedydipna metallica
NY: 7 in the Al-Kadana area.
Socotra Sunbird Chalcomitra balfouri
S: 8 on or near the Dixem plateau and 2 in Wadi Ayhaft.
Palestine Sunbird Cinnyris oseus
NY: fairly common throughout the highlands.
Shining Sunbird Cinnyris habessinicus
NY: fairly common Wadi Sare’e and Surdud, 1 Bait Baus, 4 Haman Jarif.
White-breasted White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus
Fairly common throughout the highlands and on Socotra, eg with up to 10 on the Dixem plateau.
Rufous-tailed Shrike Lanius isabellinus
NY: 10 north of Al-Hodeidah on 17th only.
Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis
NY: 5 at Wadi Surdud, 2 very pale birds L.m. pallidirostris? north of Al-Hodeidah. SY: 5 at Aden. S: 5 L. m. uncinatus daily.
Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus
NY: 10 Wadi Surdud, 1 Al-Kadana.
Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegala
NY: 2 Wadi Sare’e, singles Wadi Surdud and Haman Jarif.
House Crow Corvus splendens
Common around Al-Hodeidah and Aden.
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis
Fan-tailed Raven Corvus rhipidurus
NY: numerous throughout.
Somali Starling Onychognathus blythii
S: common throughout, with up to 50 daily.
Socotra Starling Onychognathus frater
S: up to 10 on the Dixem plateau and 6 in Wadi Ayhaft.
Tristram's Starling Onychognathus tristramii
NY: numerous throughout.
Ruppell's Weaver Ploceus galbula
NY: 4 at at Al-Ahdjour, common at Al-Mawit and in the lowlands, 20 at Haman Jarif. SY: 20 at Aden Marsh.
Arabian Waxbill Estrilda rufibarba
NY: 30 Wadi Surdud, 100 Haman Jarif.
African Silverbill Euodice cantans
NY: 50 Wadi Surdud, 6 north of Al-Hodeidah.
Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea Near-threatened
NY: a pair near Al-Mawit; only 6 previous records (OSME).
Striolated (House) Bunting Emberiza striolata
NY: 2 in Haman Jarif wadi.
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Emberiza tahapisi
NY: 10 near Al-Mawit on 15th and 16th, 1 at Wadi Hamal and 10 at Haman Jarif.
S: 1 on the Dixem plateau; this form insularis is a common resident breeder (OSME).
Socotra Bunting Emberiza socotrana Vulnerable
S: 5 or 6 on the Dixem plateau on both dates and 1 in Wadi Ayhaft.
Golden-winged Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus socotranus
NY: 2 singles at Al-Ahdjour, family party of 4 at a pee-stop in the Haraz mountains, 10 at Haman Jarif. S: up to 4 daily on the Dixem plateau and 15 in Wadi Ayhaft. The 2 forms percivali and socotrana are likely to be split.
Yemen Linnet Carduelis yemenensis
NY: common in the uplands.
Arabian/Olive-rumped Serin Serinus rothschildi
NY: 10 at Al-Ahdjour, 2 Al-Mawit tip, 8 Wadi Hamal and 15 at Haman Jarif.
Yemen Serin Serinus menachensis
NY: common around Kawkaban, in the wadi below and at Al-Mahwit, 2 at Bait Baus.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
NY: locally common throughout. Probably overlooked in Aden.
Socotra Sparrow Passer insularis
S: the commonest passerine.
Arabian Golden-Sparrow Passer euchlorus
NY: 100 at Al-Kadana, nest building and singing. One of the birds of the trip.