Black-Rumped (Red-Eared) Waxbill Male
The common waxbill (Estrilda astrild), also known as the St Helena waxbill, is a small passerine bird belonging to the estrildid finch family. It is native to sub-Saharan Africa but has been introduced to many other regions of the world and now has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 10,000,000 km2. It is popular and easy to keep in captivity.
Small-grained millets, weed seeds, sprouted seed, greens (spinach, dandelion, chickweed, etc.), insects (ant pupae, green aphids, fruit flies).
In dry steppes, semi-arid open country with thorn scrub, in the bushes of open grasslands, woodland; may also inhabit brush alongside rivers, marshes, swamp.
These are very agile birds. They feed on grass seeds and on the ground and can catch insects mid-flight. Allopreening is common. Wild birds live in pairs, small groups, or occasionally large flocks, and may be seen with other waxbill species. Pair bonds may loosen during the non-breeding season, leading to pairing with new partners for subsequent breedings.