Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Grey Firefinch (Lagonosticta nigricollis)


French: Amarante gris German: Grauamarant Spanish: Amaranta gris

Lagonosticta nigricollis


, 1863,

River Jur, Bahr el Ghazal, South Sudan


Hitherto treated as conspecific with L. larvata and L. vinacea, but differs from latter in characters given under that species and from former in (in male) grey vs pink breast (3); grey vs black belly (3); lack of crimson neck sides and nape (sometimes also crown) (2); and (in female) slightly paler colour above and below (ns[1]). Proposed race togoensis (described from Kete Kratschi, in Togo) treated as a synonym. Monotypic.


S Mali E to SW Sudan and W & S South Sudan, NE DRCongo (Uele) and W & N Uganda.

Descriptive notes

10–11 cm; 8–11 g. Male has forehead and crown mouse-grey, cheeks and throat black, back and wings grey-brown, rump and tail pale vinous-red, except inner webs of outer tail... read more


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


Grassy areas with trees, savanna woodland, also tall grass, Raphia palm thickets, areas... 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 small... read more


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



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon (e.g. in Uganda) to locally fairly common, e.g. in Mole National Park, Ghana, and SW Sudan and W & S South Sudan. Common... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Grey Firefinch (Lagonosticta nigricollis). 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 17 February 2020).