common waxbill Fast Facts
Also known as the St Helena Waxbill, which is native to sub-Saharan Africa, but has been introduced to many regions around the world. The adults have a bright red bill, with brown barred feathers on the body and males often a red flush on the underbelly. Females are generally not as brightly coloured. It has a small, conical beak adapted for seed cracking and feeding on grasses. It has the ability to navigate and forage in tall grasses due to its zygodactyl feet, which enable it to grasp and move along reed-like stems.
They feed on various species of seeds depending on what is available in the area at a given time of the year. They flock in large groups sometimes even in the 1000's.
During breeding season they will build a nest by knitting grass stems together into a elongated shape, which has an entrance tube at the bottom. Above the nest a "cocks nest" is build, where the male will sleep. The female will lay between 4 and 7 eggs, and both the male and female will incubate them. The eggs will hatch after 13 days and the chick will be ready fledge after 17 days.
Threats + Conservation
The species is considered to be Least Concern by the IUCN Redlist, and currently no threats are recorded.
Specially adapted feet called zygodactyl feet which means it has 2 toes facing forwards and 2 toes facing backwards, allowing it the grasp the grass stems with ease.