Estrildid FINCHes of The World

Order Passeriformes   Family Estrildidae


The finches of family Estrildidae are small birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are closely related to the true sparrows of family Passeridae. The estrilidid finches are gregarious and often seed-eaters with short, thick, but pointed bills. They vary from 8-17 cm. These finches are all similar in structure and habits, but vary widely in plumage colors and pattern. All the estrildids build large domed nests and lay 510 white eggs. Most are sensitive to cold and require a warm, usually tropical, habitat, although a few have adapted to the cooler climates of southern Australia. They are not closely related to the Fringillid Finches

African Finches          Other Estrildidae Finches

Genus Amadina

Finch, Cut-throat  Amadina fasciata   Found: Africa
The Cut-throat Finch has pale sandy-brown plumage with flecks of black all over; black-brown tail; chestnut-brown patch on belly; pick legs. Male has bright red band across throat, hence the name.
Image at National Aviary by: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6) Dick Daniels  2) Sandy Cole 
1) Pair  2, 3, 4) Female  4, 5) Male



Finch, Red-headed  Amadina erythrocephala  Found: Africa
The male Red-headed Finch has bright red head; gray breast covered with white spots. Female has gray head..
Image by: 1, 2) Hans Hillewaert - Namibia  3) Cristiano Crolle - Windhoek, Namibia
1) Female 2, 3) Male



Genus Clytospiza - 1 species

Twinspot, Brown  Clytospiza monteiri   Found: Africa
The Brown Twinspot has dark brown uperparts; gray head; cinnamon underparts with white spotsl Male has small red throat patch.
Image by: 1) J Jennens  2) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  3) Ron Knight - Cameroon



Genus Coccopygia

Waxbill, Swee  Coccopygia melanotis  Found: Africa
Image by: Derek Keats
1) Male on left, female on right


Waxbill, Yellow-bellied  Coccopygia quartinia  Found: Africa
The Yellow-bellied Waxbill has a yellow belly; gray upper back, head, breast; red lower back, rump; black tail; black upper mandible, red lower mandible. Male has black face mask.
Image by:1, 2) Peter Steward



Genus Cryptospiza
Crimson-wings have a reddish back and rump; gray or olive underparts. They are.secretive birds which mainly inhabit mountain forests with dense undergrowth. They usually forage on or near the ground, feeding mainly on seeds such as those of grasses and balsam.

Crimson-wing, Abyssinian   Cryptospiza salvadorii  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) JP Goodey
1) Male


Crimson-wing, Red-faced  Cryptospiza reichenovii  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Bart Wursten - Zimbabwe



Genus Estrilda
Most of the genus is found in Africa with one species, the Arabian waxbill, ranging into Asia. Some species are kept as pets and have been accidentally introduced to various parts of the world.

Waxbill, Black-cheeked
  Estrilda erythronotos  Found: east Africa
The male Black-cheeked Waxbill has gray head, back, throat, breast; black face; red belly, flanks, rump, eyes; blue-black bill. Female is duller; brown eyes.
Image by: 1, 2) Jerry Oldenettel - Okaukuejo, Oshikoto, Namibia


Waxbill, Black-crowned  Estrilda nonnula  Found: western-central Africa
Image by: 1) Tom Tarrant  2) Edward Cwik


Waxbill, Black-faced  Estrilda erythronotos  Found; Africa
Image by: 1) Bernard Dupont - South Africa  2) Ron Knight


Waxbill, Black-headed  Estrilda atricapilla  Found: central Africa
The Kandt's Waxbill is sometimes consider a subspecies of Black-headed Waxbill.
Image by: 1) Marcel Holyoak - Cameroon 2) Kevin O'Grady - Mount Kenya


Waxbill, Black-tailed also Gray Waxbill  Estrilda perreinFound: southern Africa
Image by: 1) Nigel Voaden


Waxbill, Black-rumped  Estrilda troglodytes  Found: southern Africa
Image by: 1) Henrick von Kittlitz  2) Philippe Danbois - Gambia


Waxbill, Cinderella  Estrilda thomensis  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Muchaxo


Waxbill, Common   Estrilda astrild Found: Africa, widely introduced elsewhere
The Common Waxbill has mostly gray-brown plumage; red bill, streak through eyes; whitish cheeks, thoat; brown rump. Females similar to males, but paler.
Image by: 1) Juan Emilio   2) Andre Simons   3) Jose Rocha.  4) Arno Meintjes   5) Dick Daniels on Oahu, Hawaii  6) Dick - Kenya
1, 2) Female  4, 5) Male 



Waxbill, Crimson-rumped  Estrilda rhodopyga  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2) wifflepeg - Kenya


Waxbill, Fawn-breasted  Estrilda paludicola  Found: central Africa
Image by: 1. 2) Nigel Voaden
1) Juvenile


Waxbill, Kandt's  Estrilda kandti   Found: central Africa
The Kandt's Waxbill is sometimes consider a subspecies of Black-headed Waxbill.
Image by: 1) Kristian Svensson


Waxbill, Lavender   Estrilda caerulescens  Found: Africa
The Lavender Waxbill has gray body; black eye-line extends to bill; red tail.
Image by: Dick Daniels - San Diego Zoo  2) Edwqrk Cwik


Waxbill, Orange-cheeked  Estrilda melpoda  Found: western and central Africa
Image by: 1) Liam Wolff  2) Francesco Veronesi - Ghana



Genus Euschistospiza

Twinspot, Dusky  Euschistospiza cinereovinacea   Found; Africa
Image by: 1) Tom Tarrant - Uganda


Twinspot, Dybowski's  Euschistospiza dybowskiFound: Afica
Image by: 1) Henrick Gronvold  2) Michael Andersen



Genus Hypargos

Twinspot, Peters's  Hypargos niveoguttatus  Found: Africa
Image by: Sandy Cole - Butterfly World in Florida  2) Nigel Voaden - Congo


Twinspot, Pink-throated  Hypargos margaritatus  Found: Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland
Image by: 1) Alan Manson - South Africa  2) Derek Keats



Genus Lagonosticta

Firefinch, African  Lagonosticta rubricata  Found: Africa
Image by: 1, 2) Joseph Mochoge - Kenya  3) JV Verde - South Africa


Firefinch, Bar-breasted  Lagonosticta rufopicta  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Francesco Veronesi - Ghana  2) Team Mozz
1) Juvenile


Firefinch, Black-faced  Lagonosticta larvata  Found; Africa
Image by: 1) Nigel Voaden


Firefinch, Brown  Lagonosticta nitidula  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Nigel Voaden - Zambia


Firefinch, Chad  also   Reichenow's Finch Lagonosticta umbrinodorsalis  Found: central Africa
The male Chad Firefinch has mainly bright pinkish-red plumage; upperparts darker; gray head, nape. Females similar but duller, browner.
Image by: 1) Nigel Voaden - Cameroon


Firefinch, Jameson's  Lagonosticta rhodopareia  Found: Africa
The male Jameson's firefinch has mainly pink plumage; black bill; bluish legs; sometimes white freckles on flanks. Female has darker pink plumage with red loral spot.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2, 3) Alan Manson
1) Male left, Female right  2) Female  3) Male


Firefinch, Red-billed  Lagonosticta senegala  Found: Africa
The male Red-billed Firefinch has scarlet plumage except for brown wings; yellow eye-ring;  pink bill. Female has uniformly brown upperparts; buff underparts; small red patch in front of both eyes; pink bill.
Image by: 1, 2) ChriKo  3) Arno Meintjes  4) Joseph Mochoge - Gilgil, Kenya
4) Male and female


Firefinch, Rock  Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis  Found: Nigeria
Image by : 1) Ron Knight - Cameroon



Genus Mandingoa - 1 species

Twinspot, Green-backed  Mandingoa nitidula  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Clive Reid - South Africa  2) Henrik Gronvold   3) Neil Strickland - South Africa  4) Peter Steward
1) Juvenile



Genus Nesocharis

Oliveback, Gray-headed  also  White-cheeked Oliveback  Nesocharis capistrata  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2) Nigel Voaden - Cameroon



Genus Nigrita
The nigrita have gray or brown upperparts; short black bill; whistling or trilling songs and calls. They eat insects, fruits, seeds.

Nigrita, Chestnut-breasted  Nigrita bicolor  Found: Africa
The Chestnut-breasted Nigrita has brown upperparts; short black bill; dark reddish-brown underparts.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2) Seth of Rabi


Nigrita, Gray-headed  also  Gray-headed Negro-Finch  Nigrita canicapillus  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Mientjie  3) Peter Steward 4) Joseph Mochoge - Gilgil, Kenya


Nigrita, Pale-fronted
  Nigrita luteifrons  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Jacob Cooper - Cameroon


Nigrita, White-breasted  Nigrita fusconotus  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2) Marcel Holyoak



Genus Odontospiza

Silverbill, Gray-headed  Odontospiza griseicapilla  also  Lonchura griseicapilla  Found: eastern Africa
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2) Tarique Sani  3) Francesco Veronesi - Kenya



Genus Ortygospiza
These birds are found in open grasslands in Africa. They are gregarious seed-eaters with short, thick, red bills. They are very terrestrial, with lark-like feet and claws.

Quailfinch, African  Ortygospiza fuscocrissa  Found: western and central Africa
Image by: 1) Demetrius Kessy - Tanzania  2) Alan Manson - South Africa


Quailfinch, Black-faced  Ortygospiza atricollis  Found: western and central Africa
Image by: 1) Steve Garvie



Genus Parmoptila

Antpecker, Red-fronted  Parmoptila rubrifrons  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Tom Tarrant - Tanzania


Antpecker, Woodhouse's
  Parmoptila rubrifrons  Found: central Africa
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans



Genus Pyrenestes
They are gregarious seed eaters with short, very thick, grey bills. All have crimson on the face and tail.

Seedcracker, Black-bellied  Pyrenestes ostrinuFound: Africa
Image by: 1) Francesco Veronesi - Ghana


Seedcracker, Crimson  Pyrenestes sanguineus  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Anuar Lopez - Sierre Leone  2) Marco Ramirez - Sierre Leone


Seedcracker, Lesser  Pyrenestes minor  Found: Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe
Image by: 1, 2) Dave Appleton
1) Juvenile



Genus Pytilia

Pytilia, Green-winged  Pytilia melba Found: Africa
Image by: Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya   2) Dick - San Diego Zoo   3) Lip Kee Yap Tsavo East, Kenya  4) Sandy Cole - San Diego Zoo  5) Arno Meintjes 
1) Male, left;  female, right  2) Female  3, 4, 5) male



Pytilia, Orange-winged also Golden-backed Pytilia   Pytilia afra  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Joseph Smit  2, 3) Bill Higham - Mozambique


Pytilia, Red-billed  Pytilia lineata Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Norbert Valovic


Pytilia, Red-faced also Yellow-winged Ptyilia  Pytilia hypogrammica  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Edward Cwik  2) Michael Andersen


Pytilia, Red-winged  Pytilia phoenicoptera Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Arno Meintjes



Genus Spermophaga
They are gregarious seed eaters with short, thick, blue and red bills. All have plumage which is mainly crimson and black or dark gray.

Bluebill, Red-headed  Spermophaga ruficapilla  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Tom Tarrant - Uganda


Bluebill, Western  Spermophaga haematina   Found: Africa
The male Western Bluebill has blue bill; red flanks from chin to breast; white-blue eye-ring; female lacks the eye-ring.
Image by: 1) Allan Hopkins - Gambia  2) Ron Knight 
1) Female 2) Male



Genus Uraeginthus

Cordonbleu, Blue-breasted  also Blue Waxbill   Uraeginthus angolensis Found: Southern Africa
The Blue-breasted Cordonbleu brown upperparts; pinkish-gray bill; blue face, throat, breast, flanks. Female has less blue than male and lighter belly.
Similar to: Red-cheeked Cordonbleu. The male Red-cheeked Cordonbleu has red cheeks; Blue-breasted Cordonbleu does not. Blue-breasted Cordnobleu tems to have more extensive blue on underparts.
Image by: 1, 2) Hans Hillewaert  3) Dick Daniels - Kruger National Park, South Africa   4) Paul Baker  5) dBerliner - Namibia  6) Arno Meintjes
1, 2, 3) Female  4, 5, 6) Male



Cordonbleu, Blue-capped   Uraeginthus cyanocephalus Found: Africa
The Blue-capped Cordonbleu has brown upperparts; blue cap, face, throat, breast, flanks, tail; brown belly; light eye-ring. The female has blue forehead, but rear of crown is brown.
Image by: 1, 2) Dick Daniels - San Diego Zoo  3, 4) Sandy Cole - San Diego Zoo
1, 2, 3) Male  4) Female


Cordonbleu, Red-cheeked  Uraeginthus bengalus Found: Africa
The Red-cheeked Cordonbleu has red cheeks (male); brown upperparts; blue eye patch, throat, breast, flanks; yellowish-brown belly. The is neglible blue on forehead. Female does not have red cheek.
Similar to: Blue-breasted Cordonbleu. The male Red-cheeked Cordonbleu has red cheeks; Blue-breasted Cordonbleu does not. Blue-breasted Cordnobleu tems to have more extensive blue on underparts.
Image by: 1) Muchaxo - Gambia  2, 3, 4, 6, 7) Dick Daniels - Kigio Wildlife Conservancy (near Gilgil), Kenya   4) Darren Bellerby - Sunbird Lodge, Lake Elementatia Kenya
1, 2, 3, 4) Female  5, 6, 7) Male



Grenadier, Common also Violet-eared Waxbill Granatina granatina Found: Africa
The Violet-eared Waxbill has chestnut body; olive-brown wings; blue or violet face, rump; red eye-ring, bill.
Image by: 1) Alastair Rae   2) Arno Meintjes  3) Ian White - Zambia
2, 3) Male  


Grenadier, Purple Uraeginthus ianthinogaster also Granatina ianthinogaster  Found: Africa
The male Purple Grenadier has black tail; red bill. Male has cinnamon head, neck; blue eye patch; violet-blue underparts with variable rufous patchers. Female has mostly cinnamon-brown with white barring on the underparts; silver-blue eye-patch.
Image by: 1) Joseph Mochoge - Kenya  2, 7) Dick Daniels- Butterfly World, Florida   3) Sandy Cole - Butterfly World  6) Sandy - San Diego Zoo  4, 8, 9) Dick - Keekorok Lodge in the Masai Mara, Kenya
2 -5 Female  6 - 9) Male





Family Viduidae


Genus Anomalospiza - 1 species

Weaver, Parasitic  also  Cuckoo-finch  Anomalospiza imberbis  Found: Afica
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  2) Alan Manson



Genus Viduidae
The  indigobirds and whydays are finch-like birds. The are brood parastic. They lay their eggs in host nests, but do not destroy the resident eggs/chicks. Breeding male whydahs have very long tails.

Indigobird, Village  Vidua chalybeata  Found: Africa
The male Village Indigo is bluish-black; whitish bill; orange-red legs. Female has streaked brown upperparts; buff underparts; whitish supercilium; yellowish bill. Helpful pointers with the Village Indigobird identification is association with its host species, the Red-billed Firefinch, and its presence near human habitation.
Image by: 1) Atamari - Gambia  2) Hectonichus   3) Charlie Westerinen - Victoria Falls Zimbabwe
1) Female  2, 3) Male


Whydah, Eastern Paradise also Long-tailed Paradise Whydah  Vidua paradisaea  Found: eastern Africa
The breeding male Eastern Paradise Whydah has black back, head, bill; yellowish nape; rusty-brown breast; buffy-white belly; black tail with very long feathers. The female or nonbreeding male has white median crown stripe, supercilium; off white belly.
Image by: 1, 2, 6) Dick Daniels - National Aviary   3, 5, 7) Dick - San Diego Zoo  4)  Doug Janson 8) Sandy Cole - National Aviary 
1 - 4) Female  5 - 8) Male


Whydah, Pintail  Vidua macroura  Found: Africa, Puerto Rico (introduced)
The breeding male Pintail Whydah has black hood, back, tail; dark brown wings with white patches; white face, underparts; red bill. Female and nonbreeding male has streaked brown upperparts; whitish underparts with buff flanks; buff and black face pattern; red bill.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Puerto Rico (ID by Chuck Schussman  2, 3) Dick - San Diego Zoo    6) Joseph Mochoge - Eburu Kenya   4) Alan Manson  5) New Jersey Birds 
1,2, 3) Female or nonbreeding male  4, 5, 6) Breeding male


Whydah, Shaft-tailed Vidua regia Found: Africa
The breeding male Shaft-tailed Whyday has black upperparts, crown; golden breast; narrow tail, wider at the end. Nonbreeding male and female has olive-brown plumage.
Image by: Jerry Oldenettel - Namibia


Whydah, Straw-tailed  Vidua fischeri  Found: Africa
Image by: 1, 2) Joseph Mochoge - Gilgil, Kenya  3) Peter Steward - Kenya  4) Kris Maes - Ethiopia
1) Female  2) Juvenile male  3, 4) Male





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