Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Jameson's Firefinch (Lagonosticta rhodopareia)


French: Amarante de Jameson German: Rosenamarant Spanish: Amaranta de Jameson

E[strelda]. rhodopareia


, 1868,

Keren, 4000–5000 feet (c. 1220–1525 m), Eritrea


In the past sometimes treated as conspecific with L. umbrinodorsalis and L. virata. Nominate race intergrades with jamesoni in NW Kenya and N Uganda, and ansorgei intergrades with jamesoni in N Namibia. Proposed race taruensis (described from Tsavo, in Kenya) synonymized with jamesoni. Three subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. r. rhodopareia (Heuglin, 1868) – SW & S Ethiopia, E South Sudan and NE Uganda E to N & W Kenya.
  • L. r. ansorgei Neumann, 1908 – extreme SW DRCongo (lower R Congo), Angola (Cabinda, and Luanda E to Moxico and S to N Namibe) and NW Namibia (R Cunene).
  • L. r. jamesoni Shelley, 1882 – E & S Kenya (S from lower R Tana and Lamu) S to Tanzania, SE DRCongo, Zambia, Malawi, extreme NE Namibia (Caprivi Strip), N & E Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozam­bique, N & NE South Africa (S to extreme N KwaZulu-Natal) and Swaziland.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11 cm; 7·5-13 g (jamesoni). Male nominate race has forehead to back brown with slight pink tinge, rump and uppertail-coverts red; tail black, basal half of... read more


    Song consists of trills at varying speeds and pitches, some melodious whistles including upslurred... read more


    Semi-arid acacia (Acacia) bushland, grassy thickets, undergrowth, maize (Zea mays... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small grass seeds (diameter 1–2 mm); also insects, including termites (Isoptera). In Lochinvar National Park, in Zambia, exploits... read more


    Breeds in late rains: Jul in Kenya, Jan–May (once Sept) in Zambia, Feb–Aug (once Nov) in Malawi, in all months (mainly Dec... read more


    Resident. In Zambia, local movements of up to 4 km to surface water during and after breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally common in most of range; probably most numerous in E & S. In Zambia density at Lochinvar National Park 40/km2 in 1972–... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2019). Jameson's Firefinch (Lagonosticta rhodopareia). 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 10 December 2019).