From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Red browed finch02.jpg
Red-browed finch, Neochmia temporalis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Passeroidea
Family: Estrildidae
Illiger, 1811

See text

Estrildidae, or estrildid finches, is a family of small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They comprise species commonly known as munias, mannikins, firefinches, parrotfinches and waxbills.[1] Sometimes they are treated as a subfamily, Estrildinae, within the family Passeridae; Passeridae narrowly defined comprises the Old World sparrows.[2] Despite the word "finch" being included in the common names of many of the species, they are not closely related to birds with this name in other families, such as the Fringillidae, Emberizidae or Passerellidae.

They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short, thick, but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but vary widely in plumage colours and patterns.

All estrildids build large, domed nests and lay five to ten white eggs. Many species build roost nests. Some of the firefinches and pytilias are hosts to the brood-parasitic indigobirds and whydahs, respectively.

Most are sensitive to cold and require warm, usually tropical, habitats, although a few, such as the eastern alpine mannikin, mountain firetail, red-browed finch, and the genus Stagonopleura, have adapted to the cooler climates of southern Australia and the highlands of New Guinea.

The smallest species of the family is the Shelley's oliveback (Nesocharis shelleyi) at a mere 8.3 centimetres (3.3 in), although the lightest species is the black-rumped waxbill (Estrilda troglodytes) at 6 g (0.21 oz). The largest species is the Java sparrow (Padda oryzivora) at 17 cm (6.7 in) and 25 g (0.88 oz).[3]


Origin of estrildid species

The phylogeography and possible origin of estrildid species have been studied. The following scheme may be useful to represent a hypothetical origin in India in the last and strongest Himalayas uplift (16.5 million years ago), when the monsoon rains regime was established in India (see figure). The conclusions from this study[4][5] are:

  • The estrildids form a monophyletic group that includes several polytomies and comprises African, Asian and Australian birds.
  • They may have started evolving by the Middle Miocene epoch (about 16.5 million years ago)
  • This proposed timing is coincidental with the Fringillinae radiation starting time and also with the main Himalayan and Tibetan Plateau uplift, triggered by the Indian tectonic plate collision; this established present day southern Asia monsoon regime and other drastic climatic changes, like drier weather in the Tibetan Plateau and Chinese deserts.
  • The most ancient evolutionary group comprises African (African silverbill), Asian (Indian silverbill) and Australian (diamond firetail) species; this suggests that the whole estrildid radiation might have originated around India.[4][6][7]
Estrildidae phylogenetic tree
  • The African group Nesocharis is grouped with the African genus Estrilda.
  • The Gouldian finch (Erythrura or Chloebia gouldiae) is included within genus Erythrura.
  • The Java sparrow (Padda or Lonchura oryzivora) is a highly modified species from genus Lonchura: bigger than the rest of Lonchura species, with a conspicuous and quite different head pattern. It is endemic to Java, Bali, and the Bawean Islands, although escapees from captivity can be seen today in other neighboring islands.
  • African munias (Spermestes) belong to a genus different from Australian and Asian munias.
  • The Australian red-browed firetail (Neochmia temporalis), very similar to African common waxbill (Estrilda astrild), is not closely related to it. Their similarities (bill, red brow, etc.) are due to convergent evolution, since their environmental pressures (weather, habitat, feeding) are similar.[4][7]

Genera list[edit]

Image Genus Living species
Redfrontedantpeckerfemale.jpg Parmoptila Cassin, 1859 (Antpecker)
Uganda 2011 246-crop.jpg Nigrita Strickland, 1843 (negrofinches)
NesocharisShelleyiGronvold.jpg Nesocharis Alexander, 1903 (Olivebacks)
Grey-headed Oliveback, Poli, Cameroon (5891711500).jpg Delacourella Wolters, 1949
Green-winged Pytilia, Pytilia melba at Pilanesberg National Park, Northwest Province, South Africa (17303689060).jpg Pytilia Swainson, 1837
Abyssinian Crimsonwing (Cryptospiza salvadorii) (male).jpg Cryptospiza Salvadori, 1884 (Crimsonwings)
Black-bellied Seedcracker - near Kakum NP - Ghana 14 S4E2847.jpg Pyrenestes Swainson, 1837 (Seedcracker)
Western Bluebill m - Gambia (32528245061).jpg Spermophaga Swainson, 1837 (Bluebill)
Green twinspot 2014 10 19 1056.jpg Mandingoa Hartert, 1919
Brown Twinspot - Budongo - Uganda 06 4823 (22998376511).jpg Clytospiza Shelley, 1896
Peters's Twinspot, Sakania, DRC (9999020853).jpg Hypargos L. Reichenbach, 1862
Bloedel Conservatory Bird (34984419890).jpg Euschistospiza Wolters, 1943
Red-billed firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala senegala) male.jpg Lagonosticta Cabanis, 1851 (firefinches)
Red-cheeked cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus bengalus bengalus) male.jpg Uraeginthus Cabanis, 1851 (cordon-bleus)
Violet-eared waxbill, Uraeginthus granatinus, at Pilanesberg National Park, Northwest Province, South Africa (28037408514).jpg Granatina Sharpe, 1890
Swee waxbill 2008 05 18 14 08 26 5958.jpg Coccopygia Reichenbach, 1862
Black-faced waxbill, or black-cheeked waxbill, Estrilda erythronotos, at Zaagkuildrift Road near Kgomo Kgomo, Limpopo, South Africa (33418486332).jpg Brunhilda Reichenbach, 1862 (waxbills)
Lavender waxbill (Estrilda caerulescens).jpg Glaucestrilda Roberts, 1922 (waxbills)
Estrilda astrild -Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain-8 (1).jpg Estrilda Swainson, 1827 (waxbills)
Amandava amandava (VijayCavale).jpg Amandava Blyth, 1836 (avadavats)
Flickr - Rainbirder - African Quailfinch (Ortygospiza atricollis) male.jpg Ortygospiza (Vieillot, 1817)
Paludipasser Neave, 1909
Emblema pictum -Karratha, Pilbara, Western Australia, Australia-8.jpg Emblema Gould, 1842
Stagonopleura bella female - Melaleuca.jpg Stagonopleura L. Reichenbach, 1850 (firetails)
Mountain Firetail.jpg Oreostruthus De Vis, 1898
Red-browed Finch - Penrith.jpg Neochmia G.R. Gray, 1849
Neochmia ruficauda.jpg Bathilda Reichenbach, 1862
Plum-headed Finch-Neochmia modesta.jpg Aidemosyne Reichenbach, 1862
Taeniopygia guttata -Karratha, Pilbara, Western Australia, Australia -male-8 (2).jpg Taeniopygia Reichenbach, 1862
Taeniopygia bichenovii 2 - Glen Davis.jpg Stizoptera Oberholser, 1899
Poephila acuticauda - Bird Walk.jpg Poephila Gould, 1842
Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch.JPG Erythrura Swainson, 1837 (Parrotfinches)
Gouldian Finch (Bird enclosure) Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, Queensland (32149977195).jpg Chloebia Reichenbach, 1862
Indian Silverbill RWD12d.jpg Euodice L. Reichenbach, 1862
Madagascar Munia - Madagascar S4E6942 (22568997107).jpg Lepidopygia Reichenbach, 1862
Mannikin Bronze 2007 04 08 0545b, crop.jpg Spermestes Swainson, 1837 (munias, mannikins and silverbills)
Lonchura atricapilla jagori -Cebu-8-3c.jpg Lonchura Sykes, 1832 (munias, mannikins and silverbills)
Pictorella munia taronga zoo.jpg Heteromunia Mathews, 1913
Amadina erythrocephala (l) edit.jpg Amadina Swainson, 1827 (Cut-throats)


  1. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David. "Waxbills, parrotfinches, munias, whydahs, Olive Warbler, accentors, pipits « IOC World Bird List". IOC World Bird List (v8.2).
  2. ^ Christidis, L.; Boles, W.E. (2008). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. Canberra: CSIRO Publishing. p. 177. ISBN 978-0-643-06511-6.
  3. ^ "Estrildid FINCHes".
  4. ^ a b c Arnaiz-Villena A, Ruiz-del-Valle V, Gomez-Prieto P, Reguera R, Parga-Lozano C, Serrano-Vela JI (2009). "Estrildinae Finches (Aves, Passeriformes) from Africa, South Asia and Australia: a Molecular Phylogeographic Study" (PDF). The Open Ornithology Journal. 2: 29–36. doi:10.2174/1874453200902010029.
  5. ^ Arnaiz-Villena, Antonio; Gomez-Prieto, Pablo; Ruiz-Del-Valle, Valentin (2009). Phylogeography of Finches and Sparrows. Nova Science Publishers. ISBN 978-1-60741-844-3.
  6. ^ Sibley, C.G.; Monroe, B.L. (1990). Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press.
  7. ^ a b Arnaiz-Villena, A.; Gomez-Prieto, P.; Serna-Ayala, J.M.; Ruiz-del-Valle, V. (2009). El origen de los Estríldidos [The origin of the Estríldidos] (PDF) (Report) (in Spanish).

External links[edit]