30 December 2016

Arabian Waxbill

Arabian Waxbill Estrilda rubibarba is a rather scarce resident of the Tihama region where they have beens seen on Jebal Faifa summit and at Jebal Gaha as well as at the Raghadan Forest area of Baha. Birds have also been seen near Tanoumah, Al Baha and as far north as Taif where they can be seen at Wadi Thee Gazelle and several wadis in the town itself. The Arabian Waxbill is endemic to Saudi Arabia and Yemen and occurs in the mesic uplands of the Tihamah foothills, occasionally straying onto the lowland Tihamah proper. The species is described as rare in southern Saudi Arabia and the population is suspected to be in decline due to habitat loss as a result of the increasing use of modern agricultural techniques. They are highly social, and occur from 250-2,500 m in fertile cultivated Wadis, plains, rocky hillsides and terraced slopes, usually with a dense cover of trees and bushes. The species roosts communally in this dense vegetation, and recently fledged juveniles have been recorded in May. It has become closely associated with regularly irrigated agricultural areas with flowing water. It is one of the more difficult of the Arabian Endemics to see.