The Swee Waxbill is 9–10 cm long with a grey head and breast, pale yellow-grey belly, olive back and wings, red lower back and rump, and a black tail. The upper mandible of its bill is black and the lower red. The male has a black face, but the female’s face is grey. Juveniles are much duller than the female and have an all-black bill.
The Swee Waxbill is endemic to southern Africa, occurring from Limpopo Province in South Africa south through Swaziland and south-western Mozambique and all along the coastal region of South Africa to the Western Cape Province. Its distribution in South Africa is displayed in the SABAP2 map below.
It generally prefers edges of montane and coastal forest, wooded valleys in fynbos, bushy hillsides, grassy clearings in woodland, alien tree plantations, and gardens. They are often found in groups while foraging for food.
It mainly eats seeds which it usually eats directly off of grasses. They supplement their diet with insects caught on the ground and in vegetation.
Egg-laying season is from October to April. Both sexes build the nest, consisting of an oval-shaped structure with a side-top entrance. They use dry grass to build the nest and then line it with soft grass inflorescences, feathers, and other plant material. The nest is typically placed in a tree, bush, garden pergola, or Aloe.
The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 19-22 days, becoming fully independent about 15-19 days later.
Species text from the first Southern African Bird Atlas Project (SABAP1), 1997.
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More common names: Suidelike Swie (Afrikaans); Xidzingirhi (Tsonga); ubuSukuswane (Zulu); Astrild à joues noires (French); Gelbbauchastrild (German); Groenrugastrild (Dutch).
Recommended citation format: Loftie-Eaton M and Daniel KA 2022. Swee Waxbill Coccopygia melanotis. Bird Feeder Project. Biodiversity and Development Institute. Available Online at http://thebdi.org/2022/11/08/swee-waxbill-coccopygia-melanotis/