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Species Guide
A photo of a Grey Waxbill (Glaucestrilda perreini)
Grey Waxbill

Grey Waxbill

Glaucestrilda perreini

The Grey Waxbill, also known as the Black-tailed Waxbill (Glaucestrilda perreini), presents itself as a common estrildid finch gracing the wetter lands of Southern Africa. This small bird is a delightful sight with its subtle grey plumage and contrasting black tail.

Identification Tips

To identify the Grey Waxbill, one should look for its distinctive grey coloration and the black tail that gives it its alternate name. Observers should also note the bird's size and finch-like appearance, which are characteristic of the species.


The Grey Waxbill favors subtropical and tropical moist shrubland habitats. It thrives in areas where the vegetation provides ample cover and food sources.


This species has a broad range across Southern Africa, with two recognized subspecies. The nominate subspecies, Glaucestrilda perreini perreini, is found from Gabon to northern Angola and east to southern Tanzania. The second subspecies, Glaucestrilda perreini incana, inhabits the regions from Southern Malawi and Mozambique to eastern South Africa.


The Grey Waxbill is known for its active foraging behavior and social nature, often seen in pairs or small flocks.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List has evaluated the Grey Waxbill as Least Concern, indicating that, currently, there are no immediate threats to its population numbers on a global scale.

Similar Species

While observing, one might confuse the Grey Waxbill with other waxbill species. However, its grey plumage and black tail are distinctive markers to help differentiate it from its relatives.

Diet and Feeding

The Grey Waxbill's diet primarily consists of seeds and small insects, which it forages for among the shrubbery of its habitat.

In the spirit of Sir David Attenborough, we must appreciate the delicate balance of nature that allows the Grey Waxbill to flourish in its environment, and we must continue to monitor its status to ensure it remains a common sight in the rich tapestry of Southern Africa's birdlife.

Grey Waxbill Sounds

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Grey Waxbills on Birda


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