Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Blue-breasted Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus angolensis)


French: Cordonbleu d’Angola German: Blauastrild Spanish: Azulito angoleño
Other common names: Blue Waxbill, Southern Cordon-bleu

Fringilla angolensis


, 1758,



Occasionally hybridizes with U. bengalus in S Tanzania (Songea, Mikindani), where a few males have red patch on ear-coverts. Males with red on ear-coverts occur rarely in S Zambia and N South Africa (in areas remote from U. bengalus) and one record in NW Zambia (near range of latter), but the two species are broadly sympatric in N & C Tanzania and in SE DRCongo (Kasai and Katanga), with little evidence of interbreeding. Proposed race natalensis (described from KwaZulu-Natal, in E South Africa) treated as a synonym of niassensis. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • U. a. angolensis (Linnaeus, 1758) – São Tomé (perhaps introduced), NW Angola (including Cabinda) and SW DRCongo.
  • U. a. cyanopleurus Wolters, 1963 – S Angola, W Zambia (W of Kafue National Park), W & NW Zimbabwe, N Namibia, N Botswana and N South Africa (S to North West Province and Free State).
  • U. a. niassensis Reichenow, 1911 – Tanzania, S & SE DRCongo, Zambia (E of Kafue National Park), Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe (except W) S to NE South Africa (N Limpopo S to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape) and Swaziland.
  • Descriptive notes

    12–13 cm; 6·3-13 g. Male nominate race has crown to back and upper­wing grey-brown, primary P9 broad near tip, rump, uppertail-coverts and long pointed tail blue;... read more


    Close contact call a brief, soft "swip swip"; distance contact call and flight call 1... read more


    Acacia (Acacia) woodland and thickets, rank growth, overgrown cultivation, around rural... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly small grass seeds, also some insects and spiders (Araneae). Foods in N South Africa mainly seeds of Panicum, Urochloa... read more


    Season Feb–May in Tanzania, Feb–Jun in DRCongo (Katanga), Dec–Jun (mainly Jan–Apr) in Zambia, Dec–May in... read more


    Resident; some local movements.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common in most of range. In South Africa, density c. 0·25-0·75 pairs/ha in open Acacia-Dichrostachys brush on Nyl... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Blue-breasted Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus angolensis). 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 27 January 2020).