Red-faced crimson-wing

Red-faced crimson-wing
Cryptospiza reichenovii

Photo by Warwick Tarboton (Warwick Tarboton)

Common name:
red-faced crimson-wing (en); asa-vermelha-de-mascarilha (pt); sénégali de Reichenow (fr); estrilda de Reichenow (es); Reichenows bergastrild (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Estrildidae

This species is patchily distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, with population in southern Nigeria and northern Cameroon, in eastern D.R. Congo, Uganda and Rwanda, and from northern Tanzania to Malawi, Mozambique and north-eastern Zimbabwe.

These birds are 12 cm long and weigh 11-17 g.

The red-faced crimson-wing is mostly found in forests clearings and along the edges of tropical mountain forests, also using dense vegetation along rivers, well-wooded gardens and tea and pine plantations. They are present at altitudes of 900-2.000 m.

They feed mainly on grass seeds, namely Panicum sp., Setaria sp. and Streblochaete longiarista, also eating maize, the seeds of cluster pine Pinus patula and some insects.

Red-faced crimson-wings breed in September-March. The nest is mainly built by the female with material gathered by the male, consisting of an oval ball of fine grass, moss and skeletonised leaves, with a spout-like entrance protruding from the side. It is lined with seed heads, plant down, feathers and sometimes Marasmius fungus, and typically placed in the fork of a tree fern, sapling, or thorny scrub. The female lays 3-5 eggs which are incubated by both sexes, but there is no information regarding the length of the incubation period. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge about 21 days after hatching, becoming fully independent 10-12 days later.

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

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