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. Male has forehead and crown sooty brownish grey, indistinct reddish collar from nape to breast; upperparts darkish slate-grey, becoming... read more


Probably very similar to the much better described vocalizations of L. nigricollis, with... read more


Better-wooded tall grassland, especially Combretum-Terminalia woodland with high-... read more

Food and feeding

Diet undescribed. Feeds on ground, favouring burnt sites. Forages singly and in pairs or small groups, sometimes with other estrildids.


Recorded nestbuilding in Nov in Ethiopia. No further information.



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to locally fairly common, e.g. in E Sudan and E South Sudan.

Recommended citation

Payne, R. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). 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 26 February 2020).