Swee waxbill

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Swee waxbill
Swee Waxbill - Natal - South Africa S4E7543 (22568979507).jpg
E. m. melanotis
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Estrildidae
Genus: Coccopygia
C. melanotis
Binomial name
Coccopygia melanotis
(Temminck, 1823)

Estrilda melanotis

The swee waxbill (Coccopygia melanotis), is a common species of estrildid finch found in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Description and subspecies[edit]

The swee waxbill is 9–10 cm long with a grey head and breast, pale yellow belly, olive back and wings, red lower back and rump, and a black tail. The upper mandible is black and the lower red. The male has a black face, but the female's face is grey. Juveniles are much duller than the female and have an all-black bill.

There are five subspecies which are sometimes split into three separate species:

  • Swee waxbill or black-faced swee (Coccopygia melanotis) in southern Africa.
  • Yellow-bellied waxbill, yellow-bellied swee or East African swee (Coccopygia m. quartinia) of the east African mountains with subspecies Coccopygia melanotis quartinia, Coccopygia melanotis kilimensis and Coccopygia melanotis stuartirwini. Males of all three lack black on the face. C. m. quartinia has a much brighter yellow belly than nominate C. m. melanotis.
  • Angolan waxbill or Angola swee (Coccopygia m. bocagei) in western Angola.

Habitat and behaviour[edit]

The swee waxbill is typically found in uplands in dry shrubland and open forest habitats. Some subspecies also occur in lowlands, and may be seen in large gardens.

This species is a common and tame bird typically seen in small parties, and does not form large flocks. The swee waxbill's call is typically considered a soft swee, swee.


Origin and phylogeny has been obtained by Antonio Arnaiz-Villena et al.[1] Estrildinae may have originated in India and dispersed thereafter (towards Africa and Pacific Ocean habitats).


  1. ^ 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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-18.

External links[edit]