Photographed at Queen Elizabeth NP, Uganda
The Red-billed Firefinch or Senegal Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala) is a very small passerine bird. This estrildid finch is a resident breeding bird in almost all parts of sub-Saharan Africa. It has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 10,000,000 kmē. This species has also been introduced to Egypt, however, it has since become extinct in Egypt.
The Red-billed Firefinch is a small gregarious bird which feeds mainly on grain and other seeds. It frequents open grassland and cultivation. The nest is a large domed grass structure with a side entrance, built low in a bush, wall or thatch into which 3-6 white eggs are laid. The nest of this species is parasitised by the Village Indigobird.
The Red-billed Firefinch is 10cm in length. The adult male has entirely scarlet plumage apart from brown wings. The bill is pink, and there is a yellow eye-ring. Females have uniformly brown upperparts and buff underparts. There is a small red patch in front of each eye, and the bill is pink.
This widespread and abundant species is often found around human habitation, often with other species such as the Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, and its soft queet-queet call is a familiar African sound. The song is a rising chick-pea-pea-pea.
Female Red-billed Firefinch