Red-billed firefinch

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Red-billed firefinch
Red-billed firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala senegala) male.jpg
male L. s. senegala
Red-billed firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala senegala) female.jpg
female L. s. senegala
both Gambia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Estrildidae
Genus: Lagonosticta
Species: L. senegala
Binomial name
Lagonosticta senegala
(Linnaeus, 1766)

The red-billed firefinch or Senegal firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala) is a small passerine bird. This estrildid finch is a resident breeding bird in most of Sub-Saharan Africa with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 10,000,000 km2. This species was introduced to Egypt, however, the introduced population has become extinct.


The red-billed firefinch is 10 cm in length. The adult male has entirely scarlet plumage apart from brown wings. The bill is pink, and there is a yellow eye-ring. Females have uniformly brown upperparts and buff underparts. There is a small red patch in front of both eyes, and the bill is pink.

Range and habitat[edit]

This widespread and abundant species is often found around human habitation, often with other species such as the red-cheeked cordon-bleu, and its soft queet-queet call is a familiar African sound. The song is a rising chick-pea-pea-pea.

The red-billed firefinch is a small gregarious bird which feeds mainly on grain and other seeds. It frequents open grassland and cultivation. The nest is a large domed grass structure with a side entrance, built low in a bush, wall or thatch into which three to six white eggs are laid. The nest of this species is parasitised by the village indigobird.


Origin and phylogeny has been obtained by Antonio Arnaiz-Villena et al..[2] Estrildinae may have originated in India and dispersed thereafter (towards Africa and Pacific Ocean habitats).


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Lagonosticta senegala". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Arnaiz-Villena, A; Ruiz-del-Valle V; Gomez-Prieto P; Reguera R; Parga-Lozano C; Serrano-Vela I (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. 

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