Estrilda thomensis (Cinderella waxbill) 

Angolasysie [Afrikaans]; cinderella-astrild [Dutch]; Astrild de Sao Tomé [French]; Cinderella-schönbürzel [German]; Bico-de-lacre-cinzento-angolano [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora >Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Estrildidae

Estrilda thomensis (Cinderella waxbill)

Cinderella waxbill, Kunene River Lodge, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Estrilda thomensis (Cinderella waxbill) Estrilda thomensis (Cinderella waxbill)

Cinderella waxbill. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Cinderella waxbill. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Distribution and habitat

Endemic to western Angola and the north-western extreme of Namibia, generally preferring arid Mopane (Colososphermum mopane) woodland as well as riverine woodland along the Cunene River and its tributaries, rarely occurring in gardens and dry Acacia veld.

Distribution of Cinderella waxbill in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).


It mainly eats seeds taken directly from grass inflorescences, supplemented with small insects and nectar. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • grass seeds
    • nectar
      • Euclea divinorum (Magic guarri)
      • Gymnosporia buxiifolia (Common spikethorn)
  • Insects


  • Nothing is known about its breeding habits in the wild, so all of the following information is recorded in captivity.
  • The nest is a large grass ball with a fairly long entrance tunnel, sometimes with a false nest at the top which the male roosts in.
  • It has been recorded to lay three or four eggs (from only two observations), which are incubated for about 12-14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 17-21 days and becoming fully independent about 10 days later.


Near-threatened, due its limited distribution range and destruction of its favoured habitat along the Cunene River and its tributaries, mainly from deforestation, overgrazing and over-utilisation of water.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 



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