Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Ethiopian Firefinch (Lagonosticta larvata)


French: Amarante masqué German: Larvenamarant Spanish: Amaranta etíope
Other common names: Black-faced Firefinch (when lumped with L. vinacea and L. nigricollis)

Amadina larvata


, 1840,

Simien, northern Ethiopia


Hitherto treated as conspecific with L. vinacea and L. nigricollis; see latter. Recent phylogenetic analysis#R indicated that this species may be sister to L. rara; further study needed. Monotypic.


E Sudan, E South Sudan and W Ethiopia.

Descriptive notes

10–11 cm; 8–12·4 g (nominate). Male nominate race has forehead and crown sooty brownish-grey, indistinct reddish collar from nape to breast; upperparts darkish... read more


Contact call a shrill "seesee", louder (distance call) when partners separated; in alarm... read more


Grassy areas with trees, Combretum-Terminalia woodland, savanna woodland, bamboo... read more

Food and feeding

Small grass seeds (diameter 1–2 mm); also termites (Isoptera). Feeds on ground, favouring burnt sites. Forages singly and in pairs or... read more


Recorded in Jan in Ivory Coast, Jul in Togo, Jul–Oct in N Nigeria, after Jul in NE DRCongo (Uele), Nov in Ethiopia and Jun in Uganda... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally fairly common. Common in N guinean woodlands.

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2018). Ethiopian Firefinch (Lagonosticta larvata). 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 14 December 2018).