Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Grey-headed Silverbill (Odontospiza griseicapilla)


French: Capucin à tête grise German: Graukopfelsterchen Spanish: Capuchino cabecigrís

Lonchura griseicapilla


, 1943,

Massa, Tana River, Kenya


Original species name caniceps became preoccupied when species placed in Lonchura; as replacement by new name griseicapilla took place before 1961, original name permanently invalid#R. Monotypic.


SE South Sudan, extreme NE Uganda, S Ethiopia, Kenya, extreme S Somalia and Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

11 cm; c. 15 g. Head is blue-grey, with white pearly spots from forehead to side of face and upper throat; mantle and back brown, rump and uppertail-coverts white, upperwings... read more


Call a high and thin "tsi", and a silvery trill. Begging call of young a double-note... read more


Semi-arid acacia (Acacia) thorn-scrub, open woodland and grassland.

Food and feeding

Small seeds of grasses and herbs; some small insects taken, especially during brood-rearing period. Feeds on the ground. Forages in pairs... read more


Few data on season; one record in Jan. Male displays with a straw or grass stem in bill, then drops stem, turns bill and tail towards... read more


Resident; wanders in non-breeding season.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common to uncommon; common in Tanzania. Patchily distributed.

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). Grey-headed Silverbill (Odontospiza griseicapilla). 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 11 December 2019).