Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Black-cheeked Waxbill (Estrilda charmosyna)


French: Astrild des fées German: Feenastrild Spanish: Estrilda carinegra norteña

Habropyga charmosyna


, 1881,

Bardera, southern Somalia


Treated as subspecies of E. erythronotos in HBW, and this position partially adopted subsequently#R#R. Evidence, however, points in opposite direction: present species differs from geographically close E. e. delamerei in its grey vs black lower chin and upper throat (2); paler, much less crimson-shot grey breast and flanks (2); pinkish grey-white vs black belly to vent (3); smaller bill (effect size −2.17, score 2); and (despite claim of “no differences in vocalizations” in HBW) “much harsher” calls#R (allow at least 1); moreover, distribution appears parapatric or even slightly overlapping with delamerei, evidence used to conclude species status#R#R. Proposed race pallidior (from N Guaso, on R Nyiro, in Kenya) considered inseparable from charmosyna. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. c. charmosyna Reichenow, 1881 – SE South Sudan, C & S Ethiopia, NW & S Somalia, N & E Uganda and N & E Kenya.
  • E. c. kiwanukae van Someren, 1919 – SE Kenya.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; 8·3–9·2 g. Adult male nominate has forehead to hindneck buffy brown, with paler forehead, tinged pink and faintly barred, lores to ear-coverts and cheeks brownish... read more


    Not well described or known, but is reported to have a “pretty warbling song” and a “loud sweet... read more


    Acacia (Acacia) scrub and thickets, riverine thornbush. In Kenya, race kiwanukae... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet is totally unknown, but presumably similar to that of other Estrilda, especially formerly conspecific E. erythronotus... read more


    Season Apr or May in Ethiopia, with nestbuilding in Apr and dependent young observed in Jul; in E Africa breeds in long rains, Apr–Jun in... read more


    Resident; some local movements.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common, but rather rare in Somalia, where just c. 20 records in total and few of those are recent, and also rare in extreme... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-cheeked Waxbill (Estrilda charmosyna). 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 28 February 2020).