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Swee or Dufresnes Waxbill

(Coccopygia melanotis)

The Swee or Dufresnes Waxbill (Coccopygia melanotis) from South Africa is a tiny (3½”) is a quiet but active, peaceful and hardy (once acclimation) addition to the aviary.

Though most of the colors are subdued, the uniformity of shading and sharpness of contrasts give a very attractive appearance. The upper mandible of the beak is black, and the lower mandible is red. The feet and legs are black.

The head and nape are smokey-gray shading into a distinct but but soft black on an extensive area including the cheeks, sides of face, and throat. The lower boundary of black is sharply divided from a pale pearl-gray which covers the chest. The abdomen shades into and indistinct straw color which extends through the tail coverts. The underside of the tail is dull gray.

On the upperparts, a dull shade of grayish-olive covers the back, wings and sides. The olive sides are normally covered by the wings. Undersides of the wings are gray.

The rump is a somewhat subdued red, which contrasts brightly with the other colors. The upperside of the tail is black.

Females are like males in every respect except for the lack of the black cheek area.

A 50/50 finch seed and wild seed is ideal. They also appreciate soaked finch seed, egg food, fresh greens, vegetables and mealworms. White worms, Fruit flies and their larvae are helpful when breeding these birds successfully.

They usually nest higher up in the aviary, and the birds dislike disturbances. Incubation is from 12 to 14 days, and the young leave the nest usually sometime during the third week. For a short time the young have both mandibles dull black but otherwise look like females with less green on the wings. Adult colors appear at three months.

The sub-species pictured here, the Abyssinian Yellow Bellied Waxbill (Coccopygia melanotis quartinia) has recently been imported into the U.S.

The male lacks the black area of the face and throat of the nominate species, but has a more distinct yellow abdominal area. Except for this additional yellow, it closely resembles the female Dufresne’s. There is just a hint of barring on the mantle and wings. Females are similar but have far less yellow on the abdomen.

Other subspecies include the:
Kenya Yellow Bellied Waxbill (Coccopygia melanotis kilimensis)
Angolan Yellow Bellied Waxbill (Coccopygia melanotis bocagei)
Uganda Yellow Bellied Waxbill (Coccopygia melanotis nyanzae)