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African Firefinch | Lagonosticta rubricata

The African Firefinch is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Estrildidae bird family group which includes birds such as Waxbills, Firefinches, Twinspots.

The description for the African Firefinch (Latin name Lagonosticta rubricata) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Lagonosticta rubricata can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 840 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 1063. You will find a picture of the African Firefinch on page 1056.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Blue-billed Firefinch in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The African Firefinch is known in Afrikaans as Kaapse Vuurvinkie.

The African Firefinch has a height of 12 cms and weighs around 10 gms. The head is coloured grey, pink while the bill is coloured black. The Lagonosticta rubricata has a brown coloured throat, red, pink legs and a grey, pink coloured back. The eyes are red.

The male Lagonosticta rubricata has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey, pink

Eyes are red

Bill is black

Legs are red, pink

Throat is brown

Back is grey, pink

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

The Lagonosticta rubricata attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

The Lagonosticta rubricata forages mainly on the ground or at the base of trees, and low down in the shrubs eating mostly fruits and seeds.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The African Firefinch is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 5 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.

The African Firefinch is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The bird is found in the African bushveld

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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