Flitty Fred

5 Dec, '06

Meet my good friend Flitty Fred!

Flitty Fred

I have no idea what this bird is, but I love it! He has a wonderful singing voice, is tiny (not more than 2 – 3 inches beak to tail) and he just cannot sit still for a microsecond. He has made my garden, this particular part of it too, his home. He does have a mate as I spied the other one some time ago, but not for quite a while.

I’m guessing that this must be a finch of some sort and must have escaped a collector’s cage because I don’t think this is indigenous to Bahrain.

If you know what it is, please do let me know. Until then, he’s Flitty Fred to me!

Update 5 Dec, ’06 – 1600: Flitty Fred has been named! Thanks to both JL and Abaleh who made attempts to identify him, and Abaleh nailed it. This guy is the Graceful Prinia or Graceful Warbler. A Kuwaiti bird site has more information about him and so does other sites on the internet. It’s easy to search once you know the name! Thanks guys.

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  1. Brids welcome! | Mahmood's Garden | 8 Jan, '11
  1. JL says:

    Don’t think it’s a finch. How about one of these:

  2. mahmood says:

    Thanks JL, it looks remarkably like a House Wren but according to the site’s description they are a bit bigger than Fred. Though very very similar. Fred’s underbelly is much lighter, the beak is smaller and the size itself is a lot smaller too.

    Will keep looking…

  3. abaleh says:

    Maybe it’s a Graceful Prinia?

  4. mahmood says:

    Thank you Abaleh! It is indeed a Graceful Prinia or Graceful Warbler. Now tell me the method you used to find the information? I searched for all the terms I could think of in Google and didn’t come up with anything. JL, you too please share your method would you?

    The Graceful Warbler is a small resident bird that breeds in all the GCC (Gulf Countries Counsil) countries, in the Euphrates valley of Syria, and Iraq, in Lebanon, Palestine, west Jordan, in northern Sinai and along the of the Nile Valley and in Egypt and in southern Turkey. Also found in Iran Pakistan and northern India.

    Its habitat is scrub and cultivated areas, often arid, gardens, grasslands, sometimes in scrub bordering swamps and rivers and in areas close to human habitation.

    التُمَّرة طائر مقيم ومعشش وهو من أصغر الطيور حجماً حيث يبلغ وزنه من 6 إلى 7 جرام ويبلغ طوله 10 سم مع ذيله الطويل، وهو أصغر حجماً من دخلة الصفصاف وعندما يطير لا يكاد يرى منه إلا ذيله لان ذيله يهتز وكأنه يطير بذله لا بجناحه

    Information from The Birds of Kuwait

  5. abaleh says:


    It’s my pleasure.
    I started off with a google search using the string “identifying birds Bahrain”, which led me to about.com, where I chose the Ornithological Society of the Middle East (the link is bad, so I just went to their home directory). On the left hand side there is a search button, which leads you to a search page. I don’t remember the exact search string I used, but it was probably something like “small bird bahrain” again, which led me to a page with a few new bird sighting in Bahrain. I did a google image search of the species names, but didn’t find anything that looked like your little friend, so I went back to the search results, and I think on this page I stumbled on the Graceful Prinia.

    Later on I found out that the Graceful Prinia is what we know around here (Israel/Palestine) as Pashosh, which is a name synonimous with something small and cute. It’s quite a common bird here. A lot of kindergardens are named Pashosh Kindergarden, and it’s also a term of endearment (my eldest sister uses it all the time).

    BTW Mahmood, I love your garden. I hope to have one half as beautiful some day (when I have more than a balcony to garden in).


  6. mahmood says:

    Thanks again Abaleh, I think Google and other search engines have truly shrunk the whole world and made information available without any regard whatsoever to borders. So thanks for taking the time to first find Flitty Fred and to let us know your search methodology.

    As to the garden, thanks! That’s very kind of you. It’s not over yet, like any garden I guess it will always be a work-in-progress, as every time I see a new plant or read another article about gardening, a light bulb goes on in my head with the message “Aha, that would look very nice in such and such location or corner in the garden” and that sends me off on a fantastic adventure.

    I’ve almost designed a “rock/cactus garden” in my head in one of the corners of the garden which refuses to let anything worthwhile grow, because it is a colder side and is also a wind-trap. I hope that “desert theme” will work there… that project should start in a couple of weeks and I’ll make sure I document it.

  7. abaleh says:

    looking forward to seeing the work in progress, and the results.


  8. JL says:

    I thought originally it was some sort of wagtail and did something similar to Abaleh but looked for a European connection thinking that I’d seen something like it in Britain. The characteristics I was looking for were its small size, size of beak, overall shape and distinctive tail.

    You’re lucky to have such attractive birds in your garden. Water and the mini-environment it creates always attracts birds. In London I have sparrows, tits, a blackbird, a robin and some wood pigeons that come regularly. We’ve seen a pair of jays occasionally and there are always magpies around. Oh yes, foxes wander through most gardens in London…

  9. M says:

    Such nice pictures, and it isn’t even Friday. Who wouldn’t be happy with your own pool, a gardener to mow the lawn for you and now, world fame!

  10. mahmood says:

    World fame doesn’t get you a good garden necessarily! But I am certainly thankful that my gardener is creative and hardworking enough to take up most of the tasks, especially the heavy ones. All I do now is walk slowly, point and ask for advice. He generally gives me a thumbs up and get the job done as well!

    I cannot say that I am a landscape artist, I have received a lot of help over the last couple of years by way of advice and work from a lot of people around me. I just put my name on the final result and people give me credit!

    No, I do do a lot of work in the garden and love the time I spend outside. On Friday and Saturday I spend as much as possible outside and do things, this is the flowering season and when I walk about the garden now, a plethora or colours, smells, shapes and sizes attack you from all sides. One of the benefits of this of course is the excellent feathered guests who choose to spend some time with us here and give us all pleasure.

    Thanks for the complements on the photography too! As you might have guessed, I have at last received my camera back from Canon after it has been fixed!

  11. madtom says:

    If you would like to find out what it is leave a comment with a link to the picture at Birding Babylon.

    There’re friendly and helpful and usually get back to comments.

  12. M says:


    It never fails to surprise me how much pleasure I can get from just looking at “stuff” outside. The lawn isn’t just the lawn, it’s individual blades of grass, all different, that I see maybe with an occasional small white clover peeking through. Can’t imagine anything better than digging in the dirt or watching something grow that you had a hand in doing. Oh the simple things in life.

    Hang in there; you’ve got some major injuries that are just going to take time. Enjoy the view while you’re healing and take lots of pictures.

  13. mahmood says:

    Thanks MadTom, and thanks M.

  14. Maverick says:

    Lovely photos M….glad you got to know what it is.

    You may want to post yr birdie pics here too….


    Kind regards….

  15. for birds ID or questions about birds in Bahrain contact me first please!!
    Howard King
    Bird Recorder since 1993 for Bahrain

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