Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Western Bluebill (Spermophaga haematina)


French: Becbleu sanguin German: Rotbrust-Samenknacker Spanish: Estrilda piquigorda cabecinegra

Loxia haematina


, 1808,

Africa = Ghana


In the past sometimes considered conspecific with S. ruficapilla; ranges meet in NE, E & S DRCongo (Uele, Kivu and Kasai), where specimens are intermediate in plumage, but majority of birds clearly of one or the other species. Races togoensis and pustulata intergrade in Nigeria. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. h. haematina (Vieillot, 1808) – Gambia, S Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and Sierra Leone E to Ghana.
  • S. h. togoensis (Neumann, 1910) – Togo E to SW Nigeria.
  • S. h. pustulata (Voigt, 1831) – SE Nigeria, Cameroon and SW Central African Republic S to NW Angola (Cabinda), E to NE, E & S DRCongo.
  • Descriptive notes

    15 cm; 20–26 g (pustulata). Male nominate race has head and upperparts glossy black, upperwing and tail black, chin to breast and flanks red, lower breast,... read more


    Calls high, thin "sseeeee", contact note a sharp "tsip", alarm "tswink-... read more


    Forest undergrowth, clearings and edges, gallery forest, logged forest roads, forestry plantations... read more

    Food and feeding

    Berries, grass seeds, rice, husks of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) fruit; also insects, including termites (Isoptera) and aphids (... read more


    Season Aug–Dec in Gambia, and nest-building in Jun and Sept–Nov in Liberia; Aug–Oct in Nigeria; in Gabon, nest-building... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally very common or abundant. Widespread and generally common in W of range, but uncommon in Togo (S from Bismarckburg), and recorded... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2020). Western Bluebill (Spermophaga haematina). 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 17 February 2020).