Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Swee Waxbill (Coccopygia melanotis)


French: Astrild à joues noires German: Kapgrünastrild Spanish: Estrilda ventrigualda meridional

Fringilla melanotis


, 1823,

“Pays de Cafres” = eastern Cape Province, South Africa


See C. bocagei. Monotypic.


SC Zimbabwe, N, E & S South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho, also extreme SW Mozambique (Lebombo Mts).

Descriptive notes

9–10 cm; 5·7-7·5 g. Male has crown and nape grey, back and upperwing olive-green, rump and uppertail-coverts bright red, tail black; face and throat black, white band... read more


Call a soft whistled "see-see" or "swee-swee", alarm call sharp "teerrrr... read more


Open grassland, shrubby grass, coastal bush, around farmsteads and houses; sea-level to 1800 m.

Food and feeding

Small grass seeds; also small insects. In captivity, also spiders (Araneae), aphids (Aphidoidea), termites (Isoptera), mealworms and small... read more


Nest-building in Jul in Zimbabwe; in South Africa, nests in Nov–Feb in N, Nov–Apr in KwaZulu-Natal, Nov–Jan in Eastern... read more


Resident; perhaps some altitudinal movements.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common. In Mozambique, confined to Lebombo Mts (on Swaziland border), where uncommon; population probably not more than 500 individuals.... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2020). Swee Waxbill (Coccopygia melanotis). 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 24 February 2020).