Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Backyard birding - Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu

Birds of Uganda


Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus bengalus) is one of my favorite visitors. I remember seeing them in the pet shops back in the states. It is so nice to see them wild in my garden.
 Like other members of its genus, the red-cheeked cordon-bleu is a very small finch, measuring only 12.5–13 cm (4.9–5.1 in) in length. It weighs 9.9 g (0.35 oz) on average, with known extremes in wild populations ranging from 8.9–11 g (0.31–0.39 oz). The adult male has uniformly brown upperparts, pale blue breast, flanks and tail and a yellow belly. There is a red patch on each cheek, but this can rarely appear orange or even yellow. Females are similar but duller, and lack the cheek spot. Immature birds are like the female, but with blue restricted to the face and throat.

Voice
Its contact call is a thin, high-pitched piping, often repeated, and variously transcribed as siii siii or tsee tsee. The song is more complex, consisting of 4–6 high-pitched notes, the last of which is longer, lower and more burry. Described as "rhythmic but lazy", it has been transcribed as wit-sit-diddley-diddley-ee-ee. Unlike many other passerines, but like all cordon-bleu species, female red-cheeked cordon-bleus sing; they also help to defend a small area around their nest site. Their song is less complex than that of the males, and they sing less frequently. Female song peaks primarily before egg-laying, and is thought to help with pair bond maintenance or breeding synchronization. wikipedia.org

Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu
Male

Male

Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu
Female

Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu
Male

Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu
Female