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Blue Waxbill (Uraeginthus angolensis)

Colouring

Iris red-brown to red; bill pink, mauve or bluish slate, tip and cutting edges black; legs and feet light brown; rump and tail blue; underparts pinkish buff.

Voice

Urgent-sounding sweep or tseep callnotes, rapidly repeated; song of sibilant and harsh notes interspersed, chreu chreu chittywoo weeoo wee, etc. Harsh stuttering rattling alarm notes.

Habitat

Open thornveld with grass and bushes, riverine bush, secondary growth around cultivation, gardens; sometimes edge of evergreen forest.

Distribution

In Southern Africa, from Natal to Gauteng, northern and eastern Botswana, northern Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Habits

In pairs when breeding; otherwise gregarious in flocks of up to 40 or more birds. Forages on ground, but may hawk insects in flight. When disturbed, flies to the nearest tree or bush, with rattling wing-beats; soon returns to ground when disturbance ceases. Tame around human settlement.

Food

Seeds, insects.

Breeding

Season:October to June, peak in January

Incubation and fledging: Clutch: Usually 4 - 5 white eggs. Incubation: 11 - 12 days by both sexes. Nestling: 17 - 21 days; fed by both parents.

References: Gordon Lindsay Maclean: Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa, Sixth Edition. 1993.

Kenneth Newman: Newman's Birds by Colour. 2000.

Photograph by Gavin Orbell