Red-Cheeked Cordon-Bleu

Red-Cheeked Cordon-Bleu Uraeginthus bengalus

Type of Animal:

Grassland, savanna, areas near human habitation, bush, wooded areas/woodland, cultivated lands, suburban gardens, thornscrub, villages, scrub, low grasses w/ tangled undergrowth, dry acacia woodland, roadsides, found from sea level to 7,970 ft

Native to Sub-Saharan Africa. Introduced to Hawaii’s Big Island & Oahu.

Male has uniformly brown upper area, pale blue breast/flanks/tail, yellow belly, red patches on cheeks, females lack cheek patches & have same coloration as males but duller, juveniles look like females but only have blue in face/throat

Seeds, grains, beeswax, insects, insect larvae/eggs, greens, green vegetables, corn, fruit, dandelion, chickweed

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos & aviculture

Small flocks of 2-10 birds. Often nest as single pairs but sometimes nest in proximity to conspecifics.

Additional Info:

Male: Cock
Female: Hen
Young: Chick
Group: Flock
0.32-0.37 oz

2 weeks 

Life Span:
7-9 years

Body Length:
4.9-5.1 in

Tail Length:
0.7 in

Main predators are monkeys, birds, snakes, lizards, & ants.
Nests are large domed grass structures w/ side entrances built on trees/bushes/thatches.
Females usually lay 4-6 eggs.
Chicks leave nest at 1.5 months old.
Sexually mature at 6 months old.
Larger grain-eating birds (especially whydahs) often chase smaller cordon-bleus away from food sources.
Fairly popular in the pet trade.
Sometimes hybridize w/ other finch species.
Both sexes sing but males sing more than females.
Can breed up to 3 times a year.
Also called Red-Cheeked Blue Waxbill.
Often feed on the ground.
These finches are sensitive to nest disturbances.
These birds breed throughout the year but more often in rainier periods.

Fun Fact(s):
Often drink by sucking up water & appear to love baths.
Males often take part in “sexual chasing,” in which male chases/pecks female-especially when interrupted by rival male.
Bengalus part of scientific name based on erroneous belief that species came from Bengal region of S Asia.
These birds are not shy & often seen/found near human areas.

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