04 June 2014

Indian Silverbills – Dhahran Hills

There have been quite a few small groups of Indian Silverbills Lonchura malabarica around the ‘patch’ the last week some of which have allowed close approach. The species are an uncommon breeding resident in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia and have a similar status in Central Saudi Arabia where small flocks of up to 56 birds have been recorded all year in many Central province areas. Most records are from the spring and autumn with less seen in the winter months. Birds have also been recorded in the Northwest of the country at Yanbu and Al Hair Dam, but caution is required to separate them in this area from the very similar African Silverbill that occurs in the southwest of the country particularly around Jizan. I have seen a couple of African Silverbills on the ‘patch’ but these were almost certainly escapes and have not been included on the species seen on my local birdwatching area.