Sunday, 20 November 2011

Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild)

OTHER NAMES: St Helena Waxbill
Latin Etymology: Estrilda (species specific name - unknown origin) astrild (species specific name)
Adult Common Waxbill (unknown subspecies) in El Rocio, Spain - November 2011

Local Name (Spain): Pico de corĂ¡l ("Coral Beak")
Featured Subspecies: Unknown
Weight: 9g
Length: 10cm
Wingspan: 12-14cm
NO UK STATUS / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The Common Waxbill is not native to Europe, but is rather an escapee that has established itself in Spain.  The species is otherwise resident in most of Sub-Saharan Africa.  The name "waxbill" apparently comes from the red beak - the colour of sealing wax is traditionally red.  I saw a small flock briefly in El Rocio, but they are apparently even present in Seville itself, and presumably even other parts of the country too.  It is one of the world's most popular cage birds which is presumably how they have managed to establish themselves.

Related Species:
Family: Estrildidae
Genus: Estrilda
Subspecies: E. a. kempi, E. a. occidentalis, E. a. rubriventris, E. a. jagoensis, E. a. angolensis, E. a. niediecki, E. a. damarensis, E. a. pease, E. a. macmillani, E. a. adesma, E. a. minor, E. a. massaica, E. a. cavendishi, E. a. astrild, E. a. tenebridorsa

 - Sighting Locations -
SPAIN - A fairly common feral species locally.
 - SEVILLE 2011 TRIP: A small flock seen at El Rocio fleetingly
Further Notes: Arkive, BirdForum OpusBirdGuides, IUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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