Jamesons firefinch

Lagonosticta rhodopareia

SUBFAMILY Estrildinae

TAXONOMY

Estrelda rhodopareia Heuglin, 1868. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Pink-backed firefinch; French: Amarante de Jameson; German: Rosenamarant; Spanish: Pinzon Candela de Jameson.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

3.9-4.3 in (10-11 cm). Sexually dimorphic; males bright red on head, breast, and underparts; females light brown except for bright red lores. Juveniles similar to females but lack red lores.

DISTRIBUTION

Central Ethiopia south to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. Discontinuous populations in western Angola and in southwestern Chad.

HABITAT

Occurs in areas containing both low cover and ample grass including grassland, thicket, forest edges, bracken-briar, and thorn scrub.

BEHAVIOR

Found in pairs or small groups. The call is a "ti-ti-ti-ti-ti" or a softer "tsit, tsit." The song is a melodious "we-we-we-we-we" or "weet-weet-weet-weet" with a whistling "feeeee" repeated several times.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds on or near the ground on seeds of grasses and other plants, and occasionally on small invertebrates.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The breeding period is at the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the dry season. The round nest is built by the male in small shrubs and made of grasses, rootlets, and other plant fibers. This species is the breeding host of the purple in-digobird (Vidua purpurascens).

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

This species has occasionally been kept in aviculture, but never in great numbers. ♦

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