Thursday, March 23, 2017

Backyard birding

Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala)


The red-billed firefinch is 10 cm in length. The adult male has entirely scarlet plumage apart from brown wings. The bill is pink, and there is a yellow eye-ring. Females have uniformly brown upperparts and buff underparts. There is a small red patch in front of both eyes, and the bill is pink.
This widespread and abundant species is often found around human habitation, often with other species such as the red-cheeked cordon-bleu, and its soft queet-queet call is a familiar African sound. The song is a rising chick-pea-pea-pea.  It is a small gregarious bird which feeds mainly on grain and other seeds. It frequents open grassland and cultivation. The nest is a large domed grass structure with a side entrance, built low in a bush, wall or thatch into which three to six white eggs are laid. The nest of this species is parasitised by the village indigobird.

Red-billed Firefinch - male

Red-billed Firefinch - female