Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Abyssinian Crimsonwing (Cryptospiza salvadorii)


French: Astrild de Salvadori German: Salvadoriastrild Spanish: Estrilda de Salvadori
Other common names: Ethiopian Crimsonwing

Cryptospiza salvadorii


, 1892,

Shoa (Shewa), Ethiopia


Proposed race crystallochresta (described from Challa, in SW Ethiopia) synonymized with nominate. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. s. salvadorii Reichenow, 1892 – W & SE highlands of Ethiopia and N Kenya.
  • C. s. kilimensis Moreau & W. L. Sclater, 1934 – S South Sudan, E Uganda, W, C & S Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • C. s. ruwenzori W. L. Sclater, 1925 – mountains of Albertine Rift (in E DRCongo, SW Uganda, W Rwanda and W Burundi).
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11 cm; 10·9-14 g. Male nominate has top of head to uppermost mantle dark olive-grey, rest of upperparts dark ­crimson-red, tail blackish; upperwing dark grey-... read more


    Call a soft "tsip tsip" when flushed; song a soft plaintive "dee-goo-goo-dee", or high-pitched... read more


    Montane-forest clearings and grassy edges, fern-covered ridges, thick forest undergrowth, bamboo... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds of grasses, including Setaria, seeds of balsam (Impatiens) and stinging nettles (of genus Laportea);... read more


    Season Apr and Aug in Ethiopia, and in Uganda breeds in Mar at Bwindi and in Jun and Nov on Mt Elgon; all records in dry months following... read more


    No information.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common; rather patchily distributed. Densities of 1 bird/ha in primary forest at Kijabe, in S Kenya, and 17 birds/km2 at Chilimo, in C... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2019). Abyssinian Crimsonwing (Cryptospiza salvadorii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 December 2019).