Family Waxbills (Estrildidae)

Least Concern

Zebra Waxbill (Amandava subflava)


French: Bengali zébré German: Goldbrustastrild Spanish: Bengalí cebra
Other common names: Orange-breasted Waxbill

Fringilla subflava


, 1819,



Sometimes placed in a monotypic genus, Sporaeginthus; recent mtDNA studies, however, indicate monophyly with A. formosa and A. amandava. Proposed race niethammeri (described from Huíla, in SW Angola) considered inseparable from clarkei. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. s. subflava (Vieillot, 1819) – extreme SW Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea patchily E to W Sudan and W Ethiopia, and S to N, C & E DRCongo, Uganda, Kenya and NW Tanzania, also W Yemen (where perhaps introduced)#R.
  • A. s. clarkei (Shelley, 1903) – S Gabon, S Congo, S DRCongo and Tanzania (except NW) S to Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and E South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    9 cm; 5·2-10·9 g. Male nominate race has crown to back and wings olive-green to olive-grey, rump and uppertail-coverts red, tail black with whitish on outer... read more


    Calls high, thin, nasal downslurs, "seet", "sip" and "cheep", often... read more


    Open grassy areas, seasonally wet grasslands, marshes, grassy woodland near water, and edges of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Small grass seeds, including those of Digitaria milinjana, Hyparrhenia cymbaria, Melinus repens, Panicum... read more


    Season Jun–Sept in Sudan, Dec in Ethiopia, Jul and Aug in Uganda, during regional rains in Kenya, Jan–Jun (mainly Mar–May... read more


    Mainly resident; partly nomadic, some moving to drier grasslands during rains.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common to scarce or rare. Rare to fairly common and generally very local in extreme NW of range; in Senegal and Gambia was formerly locally... read more

    Recommended citation

    Payne, R. (2019). Zebra Waxbill (Amandava subflava). 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 12 December 2019).