Mandingoa nitidula (Green twinspot)

Groenkolpensie [Afrikaans]; Groene druppelastrild [Dutch]; Sénégali vert [French]; Grüner tropfenastrild [German]; Pintadinha-verde [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

Mandingoa nitidula (Green twinspot)  

Green twinspot female. [photo Hugh Chittenden ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs in patches of sub-Saharan Africa, from West Africa to much of the DRC and surrounding countries, extending south to southern Africa. Here it is uncommon to locally common in Zimbabwe's eastern highlands and adjacent central Mozambique, with a separate population in eastern South Africa and Swaziland, from Limpopo province to KwaZulu-Natal and marginally in the Eastern Cape. It generally prefers edges of forest, especially with tangled bracken-brier scrub or gardens, also occupying alien tree plantations, particularly with patches of Ribbon bristle grass (Setaria chevalieri).

Distribution of Green twinspot 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). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  


It mainly eats seeds taken from the ground or directly from plants, especially grasses, supplemented with small insects. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Seeds
    • grasses
      • Oplismenus hirtellus (Basket grass)
      • Setaria chevalieri (Ribbon bristle grass)
      • Sacciolepis curvata (Forest hood grass)
    • Urera cameroonensis (Creeping stinging nettle)
  • Insects


  • The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a bulk oval ball with a small entrance spout, made of grass stems, skeletonised leaves, rootlets, twigs and old-man's-beard lichen (Usnea) and lined with feathers, fine grass and other soft material. It is typically concealed in the canopy of a tall tree, but it may rarely use an abandoned Dark-backed weaver nest instead of building its own.
  • Egg-laying season is from December-April in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • It lays 4-6 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 12-14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 17 days and becoming independent about a week later.


Not threatened, but overgrazing of grass and trapping for the cage-bird trade are cause for concern.


  • 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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