Common Waxbill

The common waxbill is a small, grey-brown waxbill with a red eye stripe

South Africa BirdlifeThe Common Waxbill {Estrilda astrild}

The Common Waxbill also called Rooibeksysysie ("rooibek" translated is 'red beak' in Afrikaans) is a small passerine bird belonging to the estrildid finch family.

The common waxbill is a small, grey-brown waxbill with a red eye stripe and bill with a pinkish-red belly. If you look closely, the common waxbill has finely barred upper-parts and flanks. Females have less red markings on the belly while juveniles are duller with less striped plumage and black beaks.

Quick Facts


Length: 11 to 13 cm.
Weight: 7 to 19 gms.
Wingspan: 12 to 14 cm.


A common resident in long grass, reeds and scrub, often found near water in marshes and among reeds. Waxbills are common in domestic gardens throughout South Africa.


As their name implies, the are common all over southern and South Africa.


Their primary diet consists of grass seeds but small insects are also favoured by the Rooibeksysie.


They congregate in groups of 20 to 40 during the days and forage in flocks which may contain hundreds of birds. They are monogamous birds mating with only one partner.


Four to seven white eggs are laid. They are incubated for 11 to 13 days and the young birds fledge 17 to 21 days after hatching. Both parents take part in incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks. The timing of the breeding season varies in different parts of the world. In captivity they may breed up to four times a year.


Incubation lasts for 11 to 12 days.

Life Expectancy

4 years in the wild.


Mice and snakes.


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