Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Red-winged Pytilia (Pytilia phoenicoptera)


French: Beaumarquet aurore German: Auroraastrild Spanish: Estrilda alirroja

Pytilia phœnicoptera


, 1837,

West Africa = Gambia


Has been considered conspecific with P. lineata. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. p. phoenicoptera Swainson, 1837 – Gambia, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, S Mali and N Ivory Coast E to SE Burkina Faso, Benin and N Nigeria.
  • P. p. emini E. J. O. Hartert, 1899 – Cameroon, S Chad, Central African Republic, W & S South Sudan, NE DRCongo and N Uganda.
  • Descriptive notes

    12·5–13 cm; 13·7–16·1 g. Male nominate race has head and upperparts grey, rump and uppertail-coverts red, central pair of rectrices reddish, other tail feathers... read more


    Alarm or excitement call a rising whistle, often becoming a double-note chatter, like that of P... read more


    Dry woodlands with large trees and bushy thickets, around villages and burnt sites.

    Food and feeding

    Small grass seeds; also termites (Isoptera). Forages mostly on ground. Takes termites by probing into crust over termite trails on ground... read more


    Season Aug and Sept in Gambia and Sept–Feb in Nigeria. In courtship, male hops around female, holds grass or feather in bill, also... read more


    Resident; perhaps seasonal migrant near Zaria, in Nigeria, and in NE DRCongo (Uele).

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally fairly common. Has apparently been recorded in Sierra Leone, but status there uncertain.

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2018). Red-winged Pytilia (Pytilia phoenicoptera). 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 25 March 2018).