Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Red-faced Crimsonwing (Cryptospiza reichenovii)


French: Astrild de Reichenow German: Reichenowastrild Spanish: Estrilda de Reichenow

Pytelia reichenovii


, 1874,

Bondongo, Cameroon


Proposed race homogenes, described from E Zimbabwe (Stapleford Forest Reserve, in Umtali district), treated as a synonym of australis. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. r. reichenovii (Hartlaub, 1874) – SE Nigeria (Obudu Plateau), W Cameroon, Bioko and NW Angola (Gabela region).
  • C. r. ocularis Sharpe, 1902 – mountains of Albertine Rift in E DRCongo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
  • C. r. australis Shelley, 1896 – mountains in Tanzania, extreme NE Zambia, Malawi, W Mozambique and E Zimbabwe.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11 cm; 10·5-14·5 g (australis). Male nominate race has red mask on lores and around eye, rest of head and underside olive, flanks deep crimson; upperparts... read more


    Call a high metallic "sit-sit", often given in trills; also louder "sweeee" or "tzeet". Song soft,... read more


    Thickets, dense undergrowth of primary and secondary forest, also exotic pine plantations with... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds of Acanthaceae, grasses, balsam (Impatiens), Urera creeper, Hagenia abyssinica, patula pine (Pinus... read more


    Season Oct–Dec in Cameroon, Apr–Jun and Aug–Oct in DRCongo, nearly all year in Tanzania, Jun–Sept in Zambia, Mar... read more


    Resident, seasonal altitudinal migrant and local wanderer. Appears near sea-level in non-breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Scarce or uncommon to locally abundant. Fairly common in NW of range (Nigeria, Cameroon); uncommon in Angola. Common in most regions in E parts of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2019). Red-faced Crimsonwing (Cryptospiza reichenovii). 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 7 December 2019).