Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild)

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Common Waxbill
Estrilda astrild
Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild)
Name Common Waxbill
Name Lat. Estrilda astrild
Family Estrildid Finches
Family lat. Estrildidae
Order Perching Birds
Order lat. Passeriformes
Origin Africa
Climate Subtropical - tropical
Diet Estrilded Finch seed, veggies, insects
Keeping Pair, group
Care Level Easy
Reproduction Finch nest
Life Span 5-10 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 10 cm
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 80 x 40 x 40 cm
US Units
Size 3.9"
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 30" x 15" x 15"

Distribution and habitat

The range of the waved astrilden extends from central to southern Africa. There they live in bush interspersed grasslands, swamps, reed and gallery forests, and cultivated lands. They have been naturalized by man in many parts of the world, such as Brazil, Hawaii, and also in southern Portugal, where they are thus the only finches in Europe.

Cage size

The minimum cage size is 80 x 40 x 40 cm (L x W x H) for a pair. The cage size must not be undercut even in case of justified single keeping. For an additional 2-3 birds, assuming species compatibility, the floor space must be increased by 25%. The cage must be placed in a bright, draught-free and quiet place at a height of at least 80 cm (except aviaries), have a rectangular base and be opaque on three sides, aviaries on one side. Keeping in an aviary is preferable.


The floor must be covered with sand, wood granulate, bark mulch or similar material and must be cleaned regularly. At least 3 perches made of wood or branches of different thickness and height must be installed in such a way that they can only be reached by flying and the longest possible flight distance is created. It is recommended to equip them with grasses and twigs. They need a bathing opportunity as well as biotope-like hiding, sleeping and nesting possibilities. The room temperature must not fall below 15 °C.


The species-specific feed offer consists of mixed seeds, available in specialized trade as "exotic feed" in premium quality, supplemented with red foxtail millet, green feed (chickweed, green panicle millet, fresh grass panicles, semi-mature wheat, etc.).), insect food and, especially for rearing young, swollen or germinated seeds (millet, oats), egg food and insect larvae, such as small, skinned, cut-up mealybug larvae, ant pupae, pinkies, small buffalos and black mosquito larvae. Charcoal, vitamine lime and shell grit are needed as digestive aids. Drinking water must always be available in birdbaths or in stable, open containers and, like food, must be offered fresh daily in clean containers. A varied diet promotes good health.

Reproduction and breeding

The sexes are difficult to distinguish. The female shows a paler red on the underside of the abdomen.

They like to breed in biotope-like facilities such as basket nests (bionesters) and semi-open nest boxes of medium size or also freely in branches (e.g. broom, bamboo, reeds) near the ground. Suitable nesting materials are coconut fibers, long grasses, sisal, and animal hair and feathers for padding. The clutch consists of 4-6 eggs, the incubation period is about 13 days. The breeding season is usually from October to May. When breeding, the room temperature should be at least 18 °C.


They must not be kept in a round cage. An aviary is required for flock keeping

In the case of outdoor aviary keeping, they also require a heated shelter with a floor area of at least 1 m² and a height of 1.70 m, which can be visited by the birds at any time. The temperature in the shelter must not fall below 15 °C and the furnishings must correspond to those of cage keeping

They may only be kept in pairs or in a group or flock. Socialization with other finches is possible

In rooms, including shelters, sufficient daylight or flicker-free artificial light (stroboscopic effect) corresponding to daylight should be provided. The lighting duration shall be 8-14 hours per day and the natural day-night rhythm shall be observed. Adequate indoor climate shall be provided. The health condition of the birds shall be checked daily

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Othmar Sieberer; Image: petdata

Source: BMELV (1995): Tierschutzgutachten - Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Kleinvögeln; BIELFELD (1996): Das Prachtfinken-Buch, Verlag Eugen Ulmer; GRUMMT & STREHLOW (2009): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Vögel, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF