Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Locust Finch (Paludipasser locustella)


French: Astrild-caille à gorge rouge German: Heuschreckenastrild Spanish: Estrilda saltamontes

Paludipasser locustella


, 1909,

marshes near Lake Bangweulu, Zambia


Race uelensis moderately distinctive in its lack of pale spotting on upperparts (3). Study of vocalizations needed. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. l. uelensis Chapin, 1916 – Northern Locust Finch – N Nigeria, extreme SE Cameroon, SE Gabon, Congo, W & N DRCongo and W Kenya.
  • P. l. locustella Neave, 1909 – Southern Locust Finch – patchily in Angola, SE DRCongo (S Katanga), S Tanzania (Ufipa Plateau and Iringa Highlands), Zambia, Malawi, N Botswana, E Zimbabwe and C Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    9–10 cm. Male nominate race has crown and most of upperparts brownish-black, mantle, scapulars, back and inner upperwing-coverts with fine white spots, rump unspotted... read more


    Calls "tissep", "chit", "cheep", "tsee-tset", "see-see... read more


    Flat, open grassland with tufts of short, wiry grass, edges of swamps and seasonal floodplains, low... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small grass seeds, taken from ground. Terrestrial; spends almost all of its time on the ground. Forages in pairs and in family groups; in... read more


    Breeds in Oct in Nigeria, Jan–May in Zambia and Zimbabwe, and Jan and Feb in Malawi. No information on courtship behaviour. Nest ball... read more


    Resident and partially migratory. Seasonal in occurrence in some regions; in S Africa wanders... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally uncommon and local. Few records in many countries, e.g. in NW of range; more widespread but rather local in N & W parts of Zambia.

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Locust Finch (Paludipasser locustella). 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 23 January 2020).