29 Nov 2019

Streaked Weaver – Al Hair

Whilst birding Al Hair, near Riyadh recently I came across a large group of Streaked Weavers at the edge of a wetland area feeding in a pivot irrigation field. The group included males, females and juveniles, but all males were in non-breeding plumage. Birds were seen feeding in a mixed flock of birds including Red Avadavat, Arabian Golden Sparrows and Indian Silverbills. This species has been noted breeding in this area for the last twenty years at least but I had not seen them before so decided to drive to Riyadh early morning to get there at first light. The birds almost certainly originated from escaped cage birds but now are part of the Saudi Arabian breeding species avifauna. I also found a few Streaked Weaver nests in the tall reedbeds nearby showing that breeding still continues. The number of birds seen indicate the population is growing year on year but they still remain almost entirely restricted to this area of Riyadh. Other birds still breed in Qatif in the Eastern Province but numbers here are still very low although again have bred here for more than twenty years.
Streaked Weaver

Streaked Weaver

Streaked Weaver

Streaked Weaver

Streaked Weaver

Streaked Weaver

Streaked Weaver

Streaked Weaver nest

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