COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild) – Introduced
DESCRIPTION: The Common Waxbill is a small passerine bird, part of the Finch family. The top parts are grey-brown with fine bars. The throat and cheeks are light grey. The belly is reddish. The bill conical shape indicates the bird is mainly a seedeater. There is a red horizontal bar across the eye. The legs and feet are black. Females have duller colors. Juveniles have a black bill. The bird is around 4.5 inches (12 cm) long.
NAME: The bird’s English name refers to the bill color, similar to that of the wax used to seal documents. As for the Latin name of this bird, it apparently does not refer to anything (Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names).
DIET: Seeds. Common waxbills forage in groups that can be quite large.
NESTING: The nest is built in shrubs and is a closed structure with an entrance at the bottom. Five or six white eggs are laid, which are incubated by both parents. They also both feed the chicks.
DISTRIBUTION: The common waxbill native range is Africa south of Sahara. Introduced to Hawaii in the 1970s, it is now widespread, especially on Oahu, and keeps expanding its range on this island and onto others.
CONSERVATION: This species is listed as ‘least concern’ due to its widespread large population, which keeps expanding where introduced.
NOTES: The common waxbill is a popular cage bird (see reference below).
SIMILAR SPECIES: Black-rumped Waxbill
This video below shows how acrobatic the common waxbill can be when foraging for seeds while clinging on grass stems.
This juvenile common waxbill below was found midway on the Diamond Head trail, where only rocks border it. So the bird probably was foraging on scraps left by humans:
Here’s a flock of common waxbills foraging on grass seeds:
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