Orange Cheeked Waxbill
Orange Cheeked Waxbills (Estrilida melpoda)
Description: Orange Cheeks will have a blue/gray head with a fawn colored back. They have orange colored cheek patches and a white throat with a soft gray breast and belly fading into a yellow and salmon color around the vent. The tail coverts are red and the tail is black.
Origin and Habitat: Originating in tall grass habitats alongside of water or swamps in western Africa, they have also been introduced to Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
Sexing: There are no visual differences between the sexes though some males have more salmon coloring around the vent area and a brighter orange cheek. The males will sing and the females will not.
Temperament: Orange Cheeks are very active little birds. They generally ignore the other birds in the aviary and only pay attention to each other. They clump together as close as they can and often preen each other. They are very flighty and do not do well in a cage as they panic every time you walk by. They like to have room to fly around and plenty of privacy. Despite their small size they can become aggressive during the mating season, even attacking much larger birds. They talk constantly and their tails tick back and forth as they hop around.
Diet: They will eat a standard finch mix and tiny grass seeds, spray millet, greens, insects, oyster shell and fresh water.
Breeding: These birds will usually nest close to the ground in an area with a lot of cover. They will often build a cock nest on top of the real nest to deter and confuse predators. Orange cheeks generally ignore egg food so they will require some live food for breeding. They are somewhat difficult to breed but are considered a good beginner for people that want to breed waxbills. These birds will not tolerate nest checks and will scare easily off of the eggs and young. The male performs a courtship dance with a piece of grass held in his beak. The young hatch after 12-14 days.
Here are some sound clips I have collected of my birds. Please use caution as playing these clips can excite or upset your birds.
Orange Cheek Singing
Orange Cheek Talk