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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa



The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed-eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have a wide variation in plumage colours and pattern. There are 141 species worldwide and 19 species which occur in Namibia.

  • Orange-winged Pytilia Pytilia afra
  • Green-winged Pytilia Pytilia melba
  • Peters's Twinspot Hypargos niveoguttatus
  • Brown Firefinch Lagonosticta nitidula
  • Red-billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala
  • Jameson's Firefinch Lagonosticta rhodopareia
  • Blue-breasted Cordonbleu Uraeginthus angolensis
  • Blue-capped Cordonbleu Uraeginthus cyanocephalus
  • Common Grenadier Uraeginthus granatina
  • Cinderella Waxbill Estrilda thomensis
  • Yellow-bellied Waxbill Estrilda quartinia
  • Common Waxbill Estrilda astrild
  • Black-cheeked Waxbill Estrilda erythronotos
  • Zebra Waxbill Sporaeginthus subflavus
  • African Quailfinch Ortygospiza fuscocrissa
  • Bronze Mannikin Spermestes cucullatus
  • Magpie Mannikin Spermestes fringilloides
  • Cut-throat Amadina fasciata
  • Red-headed Finch Amadina erythrocephala

All the estrildids build large domed nests and lay 5–10 white eggs. Many species build roost nests. Some of the fire-finches and pytilias are hosts to the brood-parasitic indigobirds and whydahs respectively.

Most are sensitive to cold and require a warm, usually tropical, habitat, although a few have adapted to the cooler climates of southern Australia.

The lightest species is the Black-rumped Waxbill (Estrilda troglodytes) at 6 g.

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