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The Wings and Wonders Tour—Join Saudi Birding for the 2027 Eclipse!

Join Saudi Birding and Olivier Staiger (aka Klipsi), Swiss paparazzo of the sky, for a once-in-a-lifetime tour in southwest Saudi Arabia. Not only will this ten-day tour put you on track to see all of the Arabian Peninsula's endemic species along with a panoply of other amazing avian delights, you will also have a chance to witness one of the most spectacular celestial phenomena in the world. Along the way, you'll also experience some of the cultural and archaeological heritage of this fascinating country, including Thee Ain Heritage Village and the famed Rojal Alma.

Our 10-day itinerary will put us at the center of the path of totality and then lead us through some of the best birding southwest Saudi Arabia has to offer.

Day 1—Jeddah  We will kick off the tour in Jeddah, visiting a couple local sites for Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse and Crab-Plover among some other coastal specialties before heading south towards Al Lith. We'll break up the drive with a couple of more coastal stops along the way. By the time we reach Al Lith, we may have already picked up Sooty and White-eyed Gulls, Saunders's and White-cheeked Terns, among other interesting sea- and shorebirds. After check-in, we'll explore the farms in Al Lith for Nubian Nightjar and possible Arabian Golden Sparrow.

Day 2—Al Lith In the morning we will take a boat tour of the coast near Al Lith's extensive shrimp farms, where Lesser Frigatebird once turned up. Here we should rack up several more seabird and wader species, including Pink-backed Pelican, Greater Flamingo, and possibly Goliath Heron. In the early afternoon we'll catch the total eclipse from the comfort of our coastal resort before heading for the cooler comfort of the highlands around Al Bahah, where by evening we should have good chances of seeing Arabian Scops-Owl and Plain Nightjar.

Day 3—Al Bahah  The next morning we'll be exploring the wooded wadis around the Al Khairah Forest Park for one of our top targets—Arabian Grosbeak—as well as Arabian and Philby's Partridges. Several other Arabian endemics will be up for grabs during our morning effort, such as Yemen Thrush, Arabian Waxbill, and Olive-rumped Serin. After lunch, we'll immerse ourselves in the vistas around the storied Jebel Ibrahim, where we may find Verreaux’s Eagle, African Shrikra, Arabian Woodpecker, and Yemen Serin.

Day 4—Al Bahah to Asir  In the morning we'll explore the farms and foothills surrounding the stunning Thee Ain Heritage Village, keeping an eye out for Arabian Straw-colored Fruit Bats, African Palm-Swifts, and an array of resident and early migrant passerines. We'll then continue on to the Asir Region with a stop in Al Namas for the resident "Lilith" Owl, before wrapping up the day with an evening of nocturnal birding in Tanomah, where encounters with the Arabian Eagle-Owl and Desert Owl are possible.

Thee Ain Heritage Village boasts jaw-dropping photo ops plus a verdant farm and wadi that functions as a migrant trap during the passage months

Day 5—Tanomah, Billasmer, and Billahmer  We're sure to hit the high-water mark for Arabian endemics with several stops around the picturesque towns of Tanomah, Billasmer, and Billahmer. Highlights of the day should include further sightings of Philby’s Partridge, the critically endangered Asir Magpie (Saudi’s sole endemic), and Yemen Warbler. Arabian Woodpecker is reliably seen at two of our planned stops. On our way to Muhayil, we'll visit one of Saudi's few known colonies of Eurasian Griffon Vulture.

Day 6—Abha  Our journey will then take us to Abha via Muhayil, with the lovely Rojal Alma and Wadi Shanakah as stops along the way. On our way back up the Sarawat Escarpment, we should be treated to several fun Afrotropical species, such as African Grey Hornbill, Gray-headed Kingfisher, and Bruce's Green Pigeon. Atop the Soudah plateau, we'll tour classic highland village, stopping here and there for good birds like African Pipit and Red-knobbed Coot, as we weave our way to the regional capital of Asir.

Day 7—Raydah Preserve and Soudah Creek  Early the next morning we'll visit Raydah Preserve, where our quest for highland specialties will resume. Pre-dawn birding will allow further attempts for owls and nightjars. We'll then descend into the preserve where we should encounter Arabian Partridge and bands of Hamadryas Baboons roaming freely. With luck, we'll spot African Olive Pigeon among the juniper and wild olive trees of the upper escarpment and the further down, near the old stone forts of the Raydah village, we should have nice encounters with Arabian Shining Sunbird, White-browed Coucal, and Arabian Black-crowned Tchagra. We'll then pay a call to the Soudah Creek Preserve, one of the most reliable spots for African Stonechat, a resident charmer.

We'll then journey to the Habala area in the Asir Region for Rufous-capped Lark, Yemen Serin, and Buff-breasted Wheatear. Verreaux's Eagle has made an appearance here, circling high above Habala's Hanging Village. In the afternoon we'll make our way to Sabya with a stops for possible Arabian Golden Sparrow as well as Collared Kingfisher, "Mangrove" White-eye, and "Mangrove" Reed Warbler at the Either mangroves.

Day 8—Sabya and Coastal Birding in Jazan  At sunrise the next morning we'll explore farms and fields around Sabya, where surprises may await at every turn. We'll tromp through knee-high grass, keeping our senses sharp for possible sightings of Harlequin Quail and Small Buttonquail. Horsfield's Bush-Lark and Zitting Cisticola are abundant here. Down tree-lined tracks through Sabya's farms we'll watch for Oriental Honey-Buzzard as well as White-browed Coucal and Black Scrub-robin. Next we'll explore the coast of Jazan proper, looking to clean up on any seabird, shorebird, or wader species we will have yet to see. One of our stops will be the Jazan Heritage Village, which has played host to three rarities in the past—Yellow-billed Egret, Black-headed Heron, and Black Heron. We'll also visit a nearby hangout for Greater and possibly Lesser Flamingoes. 

Day 9—The Farasan Islands and Abu Arish  Bright and early on our penultimate day, we'll be taking the ferry from Jazan to the Farasan Islands to catch a private boat tour of the mangrove and islets on the east side of the big island. On the crossing we'll scan for Brown Booby, Brown Noddy, Bridled Tern, and White-cheeked Tern andif we're lucky—Socotra Cormorant, Persian Shearwater, Red-billed Tropicbird, and Jouanin's Petrel. On arrival, we'll shuttle over to a local marina to meet our captain for the private boat tour. By the time we return back to port, we will have had our fill of Brown Booby, White-eyed Gull, and Bridled Tern and have seen Goliath Heron and nesting Sooty Falcon. Back on Big Farasan, we'll make a quick tour by car of the island looking for the local population of Egyptian Vulture as well as the Farasan Island Gazelle—before heading back to the ferry terminal for the trip back to the mainland.

Sunset will find us prowling around Al Sadd Lake near Abu Arish for Arabian Eagle-Owl as well as Nubian and Plain Nightjar (should we have missed them earlier in the tour). We'll also be watching out for eye shine from less frequently encountered species, such as Spotted Thick-knee and Greater Painted-Snipe. Non-avian species of interest will be Striped Hyena, African Wildcat, and Yemen Carpet Viper.

Day 10—On our final day we'll explore around Al Sadd Lake for possible encounters with Helmeted Guineafowl, Yellow-billed Egret, Red-eyed Dove, Gabar Goshawk, Abyssinian Roller, along with possible vagrants like African Openbill, Black Heron, Cotton Pygmy-Goose, African Swamphen, and Wire-tailed Swallow before heading to the airport for our flight back to Jeddah and onwards.

While, yes, this is still a long ways off, spots are sure to fill up quickly, so don't miss your chance to join us on this once-in-a-lifetime tour!

Dates: August 1 - 10, 2027

Participants: Max group size 9

Cost: $3000 USD* per person; single-room supplement of $430 (*price may change)

Deposit: 20% to reserve your spot

Click HERE to complete the booking form and select the August 2027 eclipse tour.

Yellah! Let's go total!

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