Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Rock Firefinch (Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis)


French: Amarante des rochers German: Felsenamarant Spanish: Amaranta roquera

Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis


, 1998,

Taboru, Jos Plateau, Nigeria


Differs in plumage from L. umbrinodorsalis, but appears to be nearly identical to it vocally. Population in Mandara Mts, in NE Nigeria, may represent an undescribed race#R; further investigation needed. Monotypic.


N Nigeria (Jos Plateau, Kagoro, Panshanu, and Mandara Hills) and NW Cameroon (N of R Benue, E to Maroua).

Descriptive notes

10–11 cm; 11·4 g. Male has crown grey, nape red, upperparts brownish-red, rump and uppertail-coverts red, tail feathers black with red outer webs; upperwing dark brown... read more


Call a characteristic rapid descending trill, "treeee", 12–13 notes per second, given by both... read more


Rocky hillsides and granite outcroppings (inselbergs) with scattered thickets and grass, scrub... read more

Food and feeding

Small grass seeds, including cultivated acha (Digitaria exilis), taken on the ground. Forages in pairs. Seasonal activity... read more


Breeding season (from dates of juveniles and active nests) Aug–Nov. No information on courtship behaviour. Nest a ball of grass,... read more


Resident. One individual moved 2·5 km.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common. Has comparatively small global range, restricted to N Nigeria and NW Cameroon. Occurs in two discrete populations: one on Jos Plateau... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2020). Rock Firefinch (Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis). 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 26 February 2020).