- Amadina erythrocephala
Length 13 cm (about size of Cape Sparrow); bill very heavy; tail rounded.
Adult male: Whole head bright red; rest of upperparts greyish brown, faintly barred on rump (whole upperparts barred in Cut-throat Finch); breast and flanks fawn, spotted with white, each spot outlined in black; lower belly white; under tail barred black, white and brown.
Adult female: Similar to male, but head brown above, barred black and white on throat; female Cut-throat Finch barred black above.
Immature: Similar to adults, but duller; male has only trace of red on head. Chick: Palate pale with 5 black spots; throat and lower half of mouth black.
Two subspecies are recognized:
- A. e. erythrocephala, southern, central and north-western South Africa, western Namibia and western Angola
- A. e. dissita, northern South Africa, Botswana, eastern Namibia and south-western Zimbabwe, darker upper parts and throat than nominate.
Open grassland with clumps of trees or small plantations, dry savanna, farmyards, cultivated fields.
Breeding: Breeds mainly in the winter months (February to September) throughout southern Africa; almost any month in the Kalahari, depending on rainfall. Nest: Pad or ball of grass and feathers; in old nest of sparrow, Ploceus weaver (especially of Chestnut Weaver in n Namibia), Red-billed Buffalo Weaver, Sociable Weaver, or in hole in tree or building; solitary or in small colony of 2-3 pairs in adjacent nest chambers. Clutch: 2-4, 2-11 eggs (usually 4-6). Eggs: White and rounded. Incubation: 12-14 days by both sexes. Nestling: 15-21 days; fed by both parents.
Its diet includes seeds and insects.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
- Tarboton W. 2007. Hybrid Red-headed x Cut-throat Finch. http://www.birdinfo.co.za/landbirds/34_hybrid_red-headed_cut-throat_finch.htm. Downloaded 22 October 2007.
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Red-headed Finch. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 19 January 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Red-headed_Finch