Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Crimson Seedcracker (Pyrenestes sanguineus)


French: Pyréneste gros-bec German: Karmesinastrild Spanish: Estrilda piquigorda escarlata

Pyrenestes sanguineus


, 1837,



See P. ostrinus. Occurs in several morphs, varying in body size and bill size, with no geographical pattern; smaller birds with medium-sized bill proposed as race coccineus (described from Sierra Leone), but such individuals occur alongside larger-billed ones in several other parts of species’ range, and considered no more than size variants. Treated as monotypic.


Gambia, S Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ivory Coast.

Descriptive notes

14–15 cm; 16·9-26·6 g. Male has head and neck down onto breast and flanks crimson-red, uppertail-coverts, central rectrices and outer edges of lateral rectrices red,... read more


Contact call during foraging a soft, hollow clicking "tsut…tsut". Courtship song... read more


Freshwater swamp-forest, tidal creeks, brushy growth along streams, low dense vegetation, scrub... read more

Food and feeding

Seeds of sedges and rice. Feeds on or near ground. Forages in pairs, sometimes in small groups; occasionally associates with ... read more


Breeds in Sept, and juveniles seen also in Mar and Jul, in Gambia; in Liberia, nest-building in Jun–Aug, Oct and Nov and fledged... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally common. Rare in Gambia, where thought to be threatened by loss of riverbank swamp-forest habitat, which being replaced by farm... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2020). Crimson Seedcracker (Pyrenestes sanguineus). 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 23 January 2020).