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Red-Headed Finch (Afr: Rooikopvink)
A smallish seedeater with scaly plumage, in which the male has a
red head. Size 14cm - about the same size as a Cape Sparrow.
The overall impression is of a small,
red and grey-brown bird. The bill is whitish-horn, the legs and feet
pinkish-brown. The bill is very thick and heavy. The male has a
bright red head, and the rest of the upperparts are greyish brown
with some barring on the rump. The underparts are pinkish brown with
white spots - each edged with black. The female has a brown head,
and is barred black and white on the throat, and the breast and
belly have a scaly affect. .
This is a common and sometimes numerous species, which is found in
grassland with scattered trees, semi-desert, urban areas and
cultivated lands. It has increasingly become an urban bird in parts
of Gauteng, and may be seen feeding on grass verges of main roads,
together with sparrows and bishops.
It is usually seen in pairs or small flocks, although large flocks
occur in the dry west. It forages on the ground, but readily visits
The call is a deep, somewhat hoarse, nasal churr churr.
It subsists mostly on seeds, but also takes insects, particularly
when feeding young.
It nests all year around, and makes use of other birds nests to nest
in. Nests used include sparrows, sparrow-weavers and weavers. They
sometimes evict the rightful owners before lining the nest with
feathers for their own use.
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