Caged birds: Silver gray-headed beak

Caged birds: Silver gray-headed beak

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Systematic classification and general information

Class: Birds
Order: Passeriformi
Family: waxbills
Kind: Lonchura
Species: L. griseicapilla Delacour, 1943
Synonyms: Odontospiza griseicapilla, Odontospiza caniceps

African estrildide, distributed in nature in a small area in north-eastern Africa, in the nation of Sudan and in the area that goes from Ethiopia to Tanzania. They are sedentary birds, so they don't migrate. Its habitat type is characterized by tropical grasslands with the presence of thorny plants, bushy areas and wooded areas, usually near waterways.

Silver beak gray head - Lonchura griseicapilla (photo

Silver beak gray head - Lonchura griseicapilla (photo


Small exotic about 12 cm long. Its aesthetic is very attractive and unmistakable. The back and belly are brown in various shades and shades. The wings are dark brown. The over tail is white. The tail is very dark, with a rounded tip. The legs are gray. The lead gray colored head stands out, from which it takes its name, with the presence of small white spots on the cheeks. Its beak is gray. Even in this species, as in most estrildidae, sexual dimorphism is evident; the livery of the males and females are practically identical. Overall, its appearance is very different from its namesake with no gray head.


As with the majority of African exotics, it is not easy to reproduce this species, as it needs temperate climates and constant high temperatures. Even high humidity can undoubtedly damage the smooth running of the hatching. It is certainly not a species suitable for novice ornithic growers, since it takes a little experience to be able to achieve results in reproduction.
In nature these birds always live in colony, therefore in flocks that move, feed and always sleep together. The flocks to feed go to the ground and eat seeds of grass and various plants. During the great African afternoon heat, the flocks move to the waterways and pools to drink and cool off. Always in nature these birds build a very large “dome” nest, almost never perfectly geometric or symmetrical, made from herbs; this is placed in the distal part of the low branches and is carefully padded with pens and threads of grass.
In captivity, the nest that can be used is the box nest, in wood or better in washable plastic. To stuff the nest, they can be supplied with jute, coconut and cotton fibers, but hay can also be provided. The female lays three to five eggs. The hatching lasts about thirteen days. The young are fed by both parents and reach weaning at about thirty days of age. For feeding the young, in addition to the inevitable food, which must be present all year round, germinated seeds and sometimes also shredded flour moths must be made available to the couple, in order to satisfy the right protein intake of the chickens. Since, as mentioned above, these birds always live in a colony in the wild, it is possible without problems to lodge them in a mixed aviary or with many other subjects of the same species. To make a selection, of course, you must lodge them divided by couples, but never in too small cages, since they need to move a lot during the day, therefore it is good practice to put more perches in the cage, so as to give them the opportunity to move frequently.
Within the ornithological exhibitions it is difficult to admire these birds, as there are still few breeders who select them. The exotic exhibitions are good opportunities to be able to observe some specimens.

Card created by Federico Vinattieri

Video: Tobe Nwigwe. DAY ONES. The Originals #getTWISTEDsundays (August 2022).