During my stay in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last December I frequently saw the beautiful Red-billed Firefinch. This species was very common in the grounds of the school where my daughter was teaching. The extensive grounds were ideal for this seed-eating species and they were often encountered in grassy areas, on or near the school oval and on the lawns next to the classrooms.
The Red-billed Firefinch is also very common throughout sub-Sahara Africa. It is often found in open grassland and cultivated areas. The nest is a domed grass structure with an entrance on the side. The nest is parasitised by the Village Indigobird which was also present on the school campus. (I’ll feature that species in a few days’ time.)
Interestingly I didn’t get any photos of the female of this species. Females are a uniform brown colour all over, except for a red eyebrow and red on the rump.
Last December we visited our daughter who was teaching in Addis Ababa. While we were there I had quite a few opportunities to do snatches of birding, including some photography. On one occasion we visited a silk shop situated in a private garden. While my wife and daughter were busy shopping I took the opportunity to wander the garden.
This Grey-headed Sparrow was most obliging, posing nicely for the camera in good light. This species of sparrow is widespread in Africa, not only in Ethiopia. After doing a little research on the species I think that this is the sub-species Northern Grey-Headed Sparrow, but I’d like to be corrected by my readers if I’ve got it wrong.
Another common bird I observed in Addis Ababa on my recent trip to Ethiopia was the Streaky Seedeater Serinus striolatus. This is another member of the finch family of birds. In the school grounds where my daughter was teaching they were very common, behaving like many species of finch and sparrow in cleaning up after the children had dropped crumbs and other bits of food in the playground.
This species is found in the higher altitudes – from 1300 – 4500m – in Ethiopia, Kenya, Zaire, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The Brown-rumped Seedeater (Serinus tristriatus) of Ethiopia is a very common bird in the city of Addis Ababa. It is the common finch like bird of the suburbs and I observed it on my recent trip there in large numbers. In some respects it is like the House Sparrow here in Australia and its habits and habitat is very similar. They even look similar.
It was very common in the grounds and gardens of the school where my daughter was teaching. Like the sparrows we know, they were the ground cleaners in the lunch areas and other parts of the school where the children ate their lunches. Any little scrap or morsel was pounced upon and devoured.
It actually took me quite a while to accurately identify this bird. This is because Ethiopia has many “little brown birds” that can cause so much confusion.
Earlier this year we stayed with friends in Victor Harbor on the south coast of South Australia. While we were there they took us to look at his sister’s extensive garden. While the others were having a good look around at the various plants, I found myself a seat near a bird feeder next to the house.
It wasn’t long before several Red-browed Finches came along for a snack. This sighting was a delight for me as we don’t have finches regularly in our garden and certainly not this lovely species. We occasionally will play host to Diamond Firetail Finches and I’ve also recorded Zebra Finches a few times.