African Firefinch ( Lagonosticta rubricata, family: Estrildidae)

Birds & Birding in the Kruger National Park South Africa. In Roberts 6 this bird was called Blue-billed Firefinch

African fire finch kruger national park birds.gif The African Firefinch (Latin name Lagonosticta rubricata) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 840 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 1063 also a picture of the African Firefinch on page 1056. The African Firefinch belongs to the family of birds classified as Estrildidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the African Firefinch is also known by these other names: Brown-backed Firefinch, Ruddy Waxbill, Dark Firefinch, Black-vented Crimson Firefinch.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the African Firefinch was called the Blue-billed Firefinch

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The African Firefinch is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park.

In terms of distribution of the African Firefinch in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. African Firefinch : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The African Firefinch is an extremely small bird about half the size of a house sparrow. The height of the African Firefinch is about 12 cms and its weight is about 10 gms

You will find that the male African Firefinch plumage and colours are different to that of the female African Firefinch

  • Head is grey, pink.
  • Eye is red.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is brown.
  • Back is grey, pink.
  • Legs are red, pink.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The African Firefinch feeds on the ground, and on the wing mainly




Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The African Firefinch is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Lagonosticta rubricata will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of African Firefinch is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 2 to 5

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for African Firefinch are: woodlands and grasslands and riverine areas. The African Firefinch is also at home in wetland and bushveld areas.

You will normally see the African Firefinch in pairs or flocks and not as single birds.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Isicibilili

Zulu ... ubuCubu

Afrikaans ...Kaapse Vuurvinkie

German ... Dunkelroter Amarant

Portuguese ... Peito-de-fogo-de-bico-azul

French ... Amarante fonc

Dutch ... Donkerrode Amarant

First bird in list | Previous bird viewed | Next KNP bird | Last bird in list

For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 840

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,