Cut-throat finch

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Cut-throat finch
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Estrildidae
Genus: Amadina
A. fasciata
Binomial name
Amadina fasciata
(Gmelin, JF, 1789)

The cut-throat finch (Amadina fasciata) is a common species of estrildid finch found throughout Africa; it is also known as the bearded finch, the ribbon finch, the cut throat, and the weaver finch.


The cut-throat finch was formally described in 1789 by the German naturalist Johann Friedrich Gmelin in his revised and expanded edition of Carl Linnaeus's Systema Naturae. He placed it with the crossbills in the genus Loxia and coined the binomial name Loxia fasciata.[2] The specific epithet is from Late Latin faciatus meaning "banded".[3] Gmelin based his account on the "fasciated grossbeak" that had been described and illustrated in 1776 by the English naturalist Peter Brown.[4] Neither Brown nor Gmelin specified a locality but in 1805 the French ornithologist Louis Vieillot designated Senegal.[5][6] The cut-throat finch is now placed with the red-headed finch in the genus Amadina that was introduced in 1827 by the English naturalist William Swainson.[7]

Four subspecies are recognised:[7]

  • A. f. fasciata (Gmelin, JF, 1789) – south Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia to Sudan and Uganda
  • A. f. alexanderi Neumann, 1908 – Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia to Kenya and Tanzania
  • A. f. meridionalis Neunzig, 1910 – south Angola and north Namibia to north Mozambique
  • A. f. contigua Clancey, 1970 – south Zimbabwe, south Mozambique and north South Africa


The cut-throat finch has plumage that is pale, sandy brown with flecks of black all over. It has a black-brown tail, a thick white chin and cheeks, and a chestnut brown patch on the belly. The legs are a pink fleshy colour. The adult male has a bright red band across its throat (thus the name "cut throat"), while the male juveniles have a slightly duller red band.

It has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 3,300,000 km2. It is found throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the Sahel, eastern and southern parts of the continent.


Cut-throat finches usually use nests constructed by other birds . A clutch usually consists of 3 to 6 white eggs, which hatch after an incubation period of 12-13 days.[8] The chicks leave the nest after 21-27 days but continue to be fed by their parents for a further three weeks.[9]



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Amadina fasciata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22719927A94651784. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22719927A94651784.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  2. ^ Gmelin, Johann Friedrich (1789). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae : secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1, Part 2 (13th ed.). Lipsiae [Leipzig]: Georg. Emanuel. Beer. p. 859.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 158. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ Brown, Peter (1776). Nouvelles illustrations de zoologie : contenant cinquante planches enlumineés d'oiseaux curieux, et qui non etés jamais descrits, et quelques de quadrupedes, de reptiles et d'insectes, avec de courtes descriptions systematiques (in French and English). London: B. White. p. 64, Plate 27.
  5. ^ Vieillot, Louis Jean Pierre (1805). Histoire naturelle des plus beaux oiseaux chanteurs de la zone torride (in French). Paris: Chez J.E. Gabriel Dufour. p. 90.
  6. ^ Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1968). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 14. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 388.
  7. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2023). "Waxbills, parrotfinches, munias, whydahs, Olive Warbler, accentors, pipits". IOC World Bird List Version 13.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 20 August 2023.
  8. ^ Mclachlan, G. R.; Liversidge, R. (1978). "821 White-throated Seed-eater". Roberts Birds of South Africa. Illustrated by Lighton, N. C. K.; Newman, K.; Adams, J.; Gronvöld, H (4th ed.). The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. p. 585.
  9. ^ Payne, Robert B. (2010). "Family Estrildidae (Waxbills)". In del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D.A. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 15: Weavers to New World Warblers. Barcelona, Spain: Lynx Edicions. pp. 234–377 [301]. ISBN 978-84-96553-68-2.

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