Red-Billed Firefinch

ANIMAL:
Red-Billed Firefinch Lagonosticta senegala

Type of Animal:
Songbird

Habitat:
Open grassland, cultivations/cultivated fields, human habitation, savanna, overgrown scrub, edges of lightly wooded areas, open grassy acacia thornbush woodland, thickets w/ open/bare soil ground, secondary growth, rubbish dumps, populated/urban areas, drier acacia scrub, thickets near water, rank grassy areas, moist woodland

Location(s):
Sub-Saharan Africa. Introduced to S Algeria & expanding northward

Appearance:
Male scarlet except for brown wings, females have brown upper body/buff underbelly & red patch in front of eyes, both sexes have reddish-pinkish bills, male bills having slightly more color

Food/Diet:
Seeds, grains, greens, insects, insect larvae, sprouts, spiders

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in zoos & aviculture

Lifestyle:
Flocks of around 25 birds. Often breed in colonies.

Additional Info:

Called:
Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Flock
 
Weight:
0.32 oz

Gestation:
2 weeks 

Life Span:
5-6 years

Height:
3.9 in

Body Length:
3.9 in

Tail Length:
0.82 in

Main predators are snakes, lizards, crocodiles, predatory birds, & mammals.
 
Also called Senegal Firefinch.
 
Nests large domed grass structures w/ side entrance, built fairly low.
 
Often seen w/ other finch species.
 
Highly abundant throughout range.
 
Call soft queet-queet & song rising chick-pea-pea-pea.
 
Like most finches, active during day (diurnal).
 
Females produce up to 3 clutches a year (w/ 3-6 eggs each).
 
Chicks stay w/ parents for 1.5-2 months.
 
Sexually mature at 6 months old.
 
Spend lots of time close to ground, especially when foraging.
 
Sometimes hybridize w/ closely related species.

Fun Fact(s):
Nests often parasitized by Village Indigobirds—Indigobirds lay eggs in firefinch nests adding 2-4 eggs to 3-6 eggs already present-eggs of both species white & similar-sized, though indigobird eggs slightly larger, chicks of both species look alike, firefinch parents raise own young as well as indigobird young.
 
Some birds were introduced to Egypt but population has since died out.
Red-Billed Firefinch, stock photo

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