Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Black-faced Waxbill (Estrilda erythronotos)


French: Astrild à moustaches German: Elfenastrild Spanish: Estrilda carinegra sureña

Fringilla erythronotos


, 1817,

“l’Indie“; error = Kurrichane, northern South Africa


In the past sometimes placed (with charmosyna as a race) in a monotypic genus, Brunhilda, but such treatment unwarranted. Considered conspecific with E. charmosyna in HBW, against modern interpretations of evidence#R#R#R#R, but split here reinstated. Proposed race soligena (from Otjomassu Sandfield, in C Namibia) here synonymized with nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. e. delamerei Sharpe, 1900 – SW Uganda, SW Kenya and W & C Tanzania.
  • E. e. erythronotos (Vieillot, 1817) – S Angola, SW Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, W Zimbabwe and N South Africa (Limpopo S to Northern Cape and W Free State).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; 7·9–10·2 g. Male nominate race has forehead to nape dull grey-brown, forehead paler, lower nape and sides of neck grey, lores to ear-coverts and chin black; mantle... read more


    Close contact call during foraging is a high-pitched “tip-tip”; alarm call is shorter and more... read more


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

    Food and feeding

    Small grass seeds, also small insects and nectar. In N South Africa, grass seeds taken were those of Panicum laevifolium, P.... read more


    Season Jan and Feb (perhaps also Nov) in Zambia; in E Africa breeds in long rains, Apr–Jun in Kenya and Jun in Tanzania (Serengeti); Jan–... read more


    Resident; some local movements, e.g. E of main range in Zambia in Jul–Oct, perhaps representative... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally fairly common in E Africa; sparse and very local in Zimbabwe, mainly in W & S of C plateau; elsewhere in S of range, main... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Black-faced Waxbill (Estrilda erythronotos). 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).