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Questing for Gold: 2023 Saudi Birding Summer Tour!

So far this year there have been no reports of Arabian Golden Sparrow from Jazan, despite the efforts of several teams of visiting birders. While the seasonal movements of this handsome near-endemic are still not well understood, it does appear it's a more regular visitor to the region during the summer monsoon season. For this reason, I am offering a personally guided tour of the southwest this summer!

The tour will run from July 1 to July 7, 2023 and start with a day of birding around Riyadh, the Kingdom's capital, followed by six days working our way from the highlands of Al Bahah down to the Tihama lowlands of Jazan. Following this rough itinerary, we will stand an excellent chance of encountering all of the Arabian endemics as well as several exciting near-endemics.

Trip Targets

While there's the potential of racking up a hefty trip list, brimming with lots of really interesting birds, particularly in the Jazan region with its abundance of Afrotropical species, the following will be our primary targets, almost all of which are either endemic (E) or near-endemic (NE) to the Arabian Peninsula:

Arabian Partridge (E)

Philby's Partridge (E)

White-eyed Gull (NE)

Arabian Scops-Owl (E)

Arabian Eagle-Owl (E)

Arabian Green Bee-eater (NE)

Arabian Woodpecker (E)

Asir Magpie (E Saudi only)

Rufous-capped Lark (NE)

Arabian Lark (NE)

"Mangrove" Reed Warbler (NE ssp)

Basra Reed Warbler

Yemen Warbler (E)

Arabian Warbler (NE)

"Mangrove" White-eye (E ssp?)

Arabian Babbler (NE)

Tristram's Starling (NE)

Yemen Thrush (E)

Buff-breasted Wheatear (E)

Arabian Wheatear (E)

Arabian (Shining) Sunbird (E ssp?)

Arabian Golden Sparrow (NE)

Arabian Waxbill (E)

Arabian Grosbeak (E)

Arabian (Olive-rumped) Serin (E)

Yemen Serin (E)

Yemen Linnet (E)

Check out a more complete list of the regional specialties we may encounter HERE.

Your Guide

I have over twelve years of experience with the avifauna of the Arabian Peninsula, having birded extensively throughout Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE, and Bahrain. I am skilled in identifying Saudi birds by ear as well as sight and, as the regional reviewer for eBird with a network of contacts across the country, will use the most up-to-date information for tracking down our target species. Finally, with my strong grasp of Arabic and knowledge of Saudi culture, I will enrich your experience of this intriguing and often misunderstood country while dealing with whatever situations that come up during the tour to ensure you have a safe, secure, and enjoyable visit.

What better way to experience Saudi Arabia than with someone who knows the country well, can introduce you to the charms of its culture, and can find its amazing birds?

Details in Brief

Dates: July 1 - 7, 2023

Arrive: Meet at the Riyadh Airport Marriot Hotel early morning on Saturday, July 1 for a day of birding around Riyadh

Depart: Leave via Riyadh 10:30 PM or later on Friday, July 7 or the following morning

Transport: TBD based on the number of participants and final space requirements

Itinerary: Riyadh to Al Bahah (day 1); Al Bahah to Tanomah (day 2); Tanomah to Abha (day 3); Abha (day 4); Abha to Jazan (day 5); Jazan (day 6); Jazan to Riyadh (day 7)

Climate: While the coastal plains along the Red Sea coast will be hot and humid with a heat index during the day reaching around 110° F (43° C), the weather in the highlands will be cooler and much more pleasant with the temperature rarely exceeding 86° F (30° C). There will also be the chance of heavy mist and thunderstorms.

Physical demands: There will be light to moderately strenuous walking at most of our birding stops

Participants: Max 7

Cost: TBD based on number of participants (singl

Deposit: 30% to reserve your spot (full payment due by May 1)

To help you prepare for your visit, please read the following post: "A Thousand Welcomes to Saudi Arabia": Discover the Thrill of Saudi Birding.​

Terms and Conditions

What's included: Hotel accommodation in a single room, double room, or 2 bedroom apartment; ground transportation to and from the various stops along our birding itinerary; all meals as well as light snacks and drinks throughout the day; tipping for accommodation and restaurant staff; access to the Raidah preserve in Abha; bird guide and driver

What's not included: Airfare (international and domestic) and baggage costs; travel insurance*; Saudi eVisa; Saudi SIM card with data (recommended)

* Basic medical insurance is included with the Saudi eVisa. However, I recommend a traveler's policy to cover other unexpected situations, such as cancellations, lost or stolen items, emergency evacuation, personal liability, etc. By completing the booking form below, you accept full responsibility for insuring your trip and personal items and full liability should you choose not to.

Cancellation: You can obtain a full refund of your deposit, minus any fees based on the original payment method, up to 90 days before the start of the tour; in the event there are insufficient participants to make the tour viable, refunds will be issued no less than 60 days prior, again, minus any fees based on the original payment method. Of course, you'll also receive a refund should something unforeseen prevent the tour from going ahead at any point in the lead up.

For more information, click HERE to contact Saudi Birding. Interested in joining us? Click HERE and complete the booking form near the bottom of the page.


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