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Alex’s Bird Chirp No. 1 – Firefinch


Firefinch Family

Royal Jozini Private Game Reserve in Eswatini is well known for its animals and fishing, however we also have over 560 possible bird species of which more than 260 bird species have been verified

South Africa has approximately 850 recorded bird species of which RJPGR has 65%’ This makes us the perfect birding hotspot!

The idea of this regular communication will be to update our full bird list, and to have a more detailed look and understanding of the birds occurring on our reserve.

I will try and limit photos to those taken in the reserve and would thus request people to send their photos so that we have a wide variety to choose from.
So, for today’s post we are going to have a more detailed look at the Firefinch family.

Did you know that we have three species of Firefinch on the reserve? Red-billed Firefinch, African Firefinch and Jameson’s Firefinch. They are approx. 9cm tall and fairly common residents to our reserve.They are mostly seen close to a water source such as bird baths and ponds in your garden. They frequent acacias and thickets feeding mainly on seeds and insects. These photos were taken at our little water hole, but I’m sure they will be found at most of the lodges in the reserveor where there is water nearby.


1. Jameson’s Firefinch
The pinkish wash to its crown and nape differentiates it from the African Firefinch. You will also note that it has much less flank spots.


2. African Firefinch
Here you can see the redder appearance with the grey crown and more flank spots


3. Red-billed Firefinch
This is the only firefinch in our region with a pinkish bill and legs

Some other interesting facts are that these three birds are all parasitized by different indigobirds. The Red-billed Firefinch is parasitized by the Village indigobird, the African Firefinch by the Dusky Indigobird and the Jameson’s Firefinch by the Purple Indigobird. (Purple Indigo bird does not occur on our reserve, so I guess they are very fortunate)


I hope that you enjoyed this chat with me and that you are excited to go and find these birds. In the next addition we will learn more about the waxbills.