Friday, 9 November 2012


Ortygospiza atricollis

Photo by Steve Garvie (Wikipedia)

Common name:
quailfinch (en); bico-de-lacre-codorniz (pt); astrild-caille à face noir (fr); pinzón codorniz (es); wachtelastrild (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Estrildidae

This species is patchily distributed across sub-Saharan Africa, from Mauritania to Ethiopia and south to South Africa.

These birds are 9-10 cm long and weigh around 11 g.

The quailfinch is found in short, open grasslands, marshes, bogs, agricultural fields and open woodlands, especially near water sources.

They forage on the ground, mainly eating grass seeds, but also taking small arthropods, especially termites and spiders.

Quailfinches breed in November-June. The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a ball-shaped structure made of grass blades, lined with seeding grass inflorescences and feathers. It is typically placed within or on top of a grass tuft, with the entrance often facing a small patch of bare soil. There the female lays 3-6 white eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 14-15 days. The chicks are brooded and fed by both sexes and fledge 18-20 days after hatching, but only become fully independent about 2-4 weeks later.

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

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