Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Seedcracker (Pyrenestes minor)


French: Petit Pyréneste German: Kleinastrild Spanish: Estrilda piquigorda chica

Pyrenestes minor


, 1894,

Zomba and Milanji Plains, Malawi


See P. ostrinus. Thick-billed specimen from N Mozambique (Elephant Bend, c. 100 km WNW of Mocuba) described in 1955 as a new species, P. vincenti, and similar one from N Malawi (Kabunduli) was thought to belong to same new species; both individuals, however, now considered to represent size variants of present species. Monotypic.


S Tanzania (S from Udzungwa Mts and Uluguru foothills), Malawi, N & C Mozambique and E Zimbabwe.

Descriptive notes

13–14 cm; 14 g. Male has head back to hindcrown and rear ear-coverts and down to upper breast crimson-red, upperparts and lower breast to belly and undertail-coverts... read more


Calls include "tzeet" and repeated explosive "chat-chat-chat" or "qap... read more


Moist rank growth at edge of montane forest, rank grass along streams, secondary growth near... read more

Food and feeding

Grass seeds, including large hard seeds of forest bamboo-like grass Olyra latifolia. Forages at low levels and in ground;... read more


Season Jan and May, with nest-building in late Dec and Mar, in Malawi; Dec–Mar in Zimbabwe and Apr–May in coastal Mozambique.... read more


Resident; evidently a partial migrant in Rusitu-Haroni area of E Zimbabwe, where mainly a summer... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Local and uncommon. Scarce and very local in Tanzania; in Mozambique, locally common in Manica e Sofala. A shy species, difficult to observe;... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). Lesser Seedcracker (Pyrenestes minor). 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 12 December 2019).