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Common Waxbill - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Mybs
Knysna, South Africa, September 2005
Estrilda astrild


9·5–13 cm (3¾-5 in)

  • Greyish-brown body with dark brown bars
  • Red eyestripe
  • White cheeks and throat
  • Red stripe along centre of belly
  • Brown rump
  • Dark tail
  • Bright red bill
Photo by Mybs
Knysna, South Africa, November 2005

Female: similar, paler, less red on belly
Juvenile: little or no red on belly, fainter barring, black bill


Most of sub-Saharan Africa
Western Africa: Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola
Eastern Africa: South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Mafia Island, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and eSwatini
African Islands: Gulf of Guinea Islands, Bioko (Fernando Po)

Introduced to Ascension Island, South America, Spain, and Hawaii.



Estrilda astrild has 15 subspecies:1:

In addition four other subspecies, ngamiensis, schoutedeni, sousae and nyansae, are not generally recognised2.


Long grass, scrub and reeds, often near water.



The ball shaped nest is built in a cavity from grass; there is a downward-pointing entrance tube on one side. The 4-7 white eggs hatch after 11-13 days and are incubated and cared for by both adults until they fledge 17-21 days later.


The diet includes grass seeds and some insects.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved September 2016)
  4. Wikipedia

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