Uraeginthus angolensis (Blue waxbill) 

Gewone blousysie [Afrikaans]; Katjikilili gomuburau [Kwangali]; Kasisi [Shona]; Mswili [Swazi]; Xindzingiri (generic term for waxbill or pytilia) [Tsonga]; Angolees blauwfazantje [Dutch]; Cordonbleu de l'Angola [French]; Angola-schmetterlingsfink [German]; Peito-celeste [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

Uraeginthus angolensis (Blue waxbill)  Uraeginthus angolensis (Blue waxbill) 

Blue waxbill male, Sericea, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]

Blue waxbill female, Kunene River Lodge, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]

Distribution and habitat

Mainly occurs in Africa south of the Equator, from southern DRC and Tanzania through Angola and Zambia to southern Africa. Here it is common from Mozambique, Zimbabwe and north-eastern South Africa to northern and eastern Botswana and northern Namibia. It generally prefers mesic and semi-arid savanna, especially with umbrella thorns (Acacia tortilis), also occupying natural growth in cultivated land, Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) and edges of evergreen forest.

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

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as prey of the following animals:

It is also a host of the tick Hyalomma marginatum.

Food 

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

  • Plants
    • seeds
      • grass
        • Melinis repens (Natal red top)
        • Panicum schinzii (Sweet buffalo grass)
        • Panicum maximum (Guinea grass)
        • Setaria verticillata (Bristle grass)
        • Tricholaena monachne (Blue-seed grass)
        • Urochloa mosambicensis (Bushveld signal grass)
        • Sporobolus (dropseed grass)
      • forbs
        • Portulaca oleracea (Purslane)
    • fallen fruit of Boscia albitrunca (Shepherds-tree)
  • Insects

Breeding

  • The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of an oval-shaped structure with a short entrance tunnel on the side, made of grass stems and inflorescences and lined with feathers. It is typically placed in the foliage of a bush or tree, especially Umbrella thorn (Acacia tortilis) and Sickle bush (Dichrostachys cinerea), often near a wasps' nest. There is no evidence that wasps deter nest predators, however it is possible that birds use wasp nests as a way of working out whether there are arboreal ants (Psuedomyrmex) in the tree, as if they are around they would attack the nest of any wasps or birds. It may also use the nest of another bird, such as Scarlet-chested sunbird, Spectacled weaver or Black-chested prinia, although with the latter it still builds a structure on top of the original one.
  • Egg-laying season is year-round, usually peaking in January, roughly two months after a period of heavy rainfall.
  • It lays 2-7 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes in about 11-12 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents on a diet of green grass seeds and termites, leaving the nest permanently after about 17-21 days. They are capable of fending for themselves after about a week, becoming fully independent after another week or so.

Threats

Not threatened.

References

  • 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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