Lesser seedcracker

Lesser seedcracker
Pyrenestes minor

Photo by Johann Grobbelaar (Grob Images)

Common name:
lesser seedcracker (en); quebra-sementes-do-Niassa (pt); petit pyréneste (fr); estrilda piquigorda chica (es); kleiner purpurastrild (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Estrildidae

This species is found in East Africa, from southern Tanzania, through Malawi and into central Mozambique and marginally across the border into Zimbabwe.

These birds are 13-14 cm long and weigh 14 g.

The lesser seedcracker is found in wet tropical grasslands and scrublands, and along the edges of tropical forests, typically favouring areas along rivers and streams or surrounding wetlands. They are present at altitudes of 700-1.800 m.

They feed mainly on grass seeds, also taking small arthropods such as aphids, termites and spiders.

Lesser seedcrackers breed in December-May. The nest is mainly built by the male, consisting of an untidy oval structure with a short entrance tunnel on one side, made of broad strips of grass, reeds and leaves. It is typically placed in a fork of a tree or scrub, 1,5-3 m above ground. There the female lays 3-5 eggs which are incubated by both parents for about 15 days. The chicks fledge 20-23 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as local and uncommon. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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