Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Arabian Waxbill (Estrilda rufibarba)


French: Astrild barbe-rousse German: Jemenastrild Spanish: Estrilda árabe

H[abropyga]. rufibarba


, 1851,



In the past thought closest to E. troglodytes or to E. rhodopyga, or to be a hybrid between those two. Monotypic.


SW Saudi Arabia and W Yemen.

Descriptive notes

10 cm; one bird 8·5 g. Male has red lores and eyestripe; forehead to nape and upperparts greyish-brown, faintly barred on nape, more barred on mantle, back and upperwing-... read more


Contact call and flight call a repeated hard buzzing "dzit", "dzeet", "chzit" or "chee"; flocks... read more


Wadis and valleys, rocky hillsides with thick scrub or trees, weedy thickets, patches of reeds and... read more

Food and feeding

Small seeds of sedges (Cyperaceae), rushes (Juncaceae), grasses, including cereals, and herbs; recorded also as taking seeds in riverine... read more


Recently fledged juveniles seen and a bird carrying nest material in early May in S Yemen (Tarim). No other information.


Resident; some post-breeding wandering.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in South-west Arabian Mountains EBA. Fairly common. Seems to be dependent to a great extent on agriculture;... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2018). Arabian Waxbill (Estrilda rufibarba). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 March 2018).