Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Grey-headed Oliveback (Nesocharis capistrata)


French: Dos-vert à joues blanches German: Weißwangenastrild Spanish: Olivino carigrís

Pytelia capistrata


, 1861,

Bissau, Guinea-Bissau


Some studies of mitochondrial genes have suggested that this species is closer to Estrilda than to current congeners; if placement in separate genus is merited, name Delacourella is available. Monotypic.


Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, S Mali and Ivory Coast E to Togo, Benin, N & E Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, W South Sudan, NE DRCongo and NW Uganda; old record from Gambia.

Descriptive notes

14 cm; 10·8-13·2 g. Crown, nape and neck and most of underparts grey, upperparts and tail olive to golden-olive, upper­wing greyish-brown, wing edged yellowish-olive;... read more


Call a lisping "tsssp". Song a series of clear, slurred whistles, begins with down­... read more


Grassy savannas and forest edge, riparian woodland, grassy guinean woodland, undergrowth, near... read more

Food and feeding

Seeds of wild figs (Ficus), other fruits and grasses; also small insects, including ants (Formicidae) and caterpillars, and snails... read more


Nest-building in Jul–Aug in Togo, and breeds Jun–Jul in Nigeria, Jul–Oct in NE DRCongo (Uele) and May–Jun in Uganda... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread, but generally uncommon to scarce. Very few records from W parts of range. Recorded once in Gambia (in 1968). Occurs in many protected... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). Grey-headed Oliveback (Nesocharis capistrata). 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 6 December 2019).