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steverowe Monday 3rd November 2003 10:38

Bird in Saudi Arabia
I saw a bird today that I can't identify. Its not in my Collins B/G for Britain & Europe (which covers a lot of the Saudi birds), and I can't find it on the internet. I haven't got a picture of it but it was a small bird about the size of a sparrow. It had a long tail, like a wagtail, a small head and a finch like beak, quite small. The primaries and tail feathers were black and it had a white rump. I couldn't quite make out whether it had large eyes or whether it had a black ring around normal eyes. I think its upper parts were brownish. I remember the black primaries and tail mostly. Could it be an Arabian Serin? I don't know what one looks like.


Michael Frankis Monday 3rd November 2003 10:47

Hi Steve,

Arabian Serin doesn't have a white rump.

A long tail suggests one of the waxbill allies (Estrildidae), presumably an escape from captivity - I'll check through my books and see if any of them matches


Michael Frankis Monday 3rd November 2003 10:54

Hi Steve,

Think I've got it - Indian Silverbill (Lonchura malabarica). Native in the far southeast of Saudi, but also some established feral populations northwest to Eilat.

Page 391 in the Collins Guide


steverowe Monday 3rd November 2003 14:57

Thanks Michael :-) . Its the very last bird in the Collins guide. I must have overlooked it. I was thinking it might have been a South Arabian Waxbill, but again, I don't know what one looks like. There aren't any decent bird books available in Saudi Arabia. Not even for their own birds. I'm sure I could get one from Amazon but I've had too many books go missing in the erratic Saudi mail. I'll bring one back from my next leave.


steverowe Monday 3rd November 2003 14:59

Arabian waxbill... not South Arabian. I was getting mixed up with South Arabian Wheatear.

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