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Shelley’s Crimsonwing aka The Rarest African Finch

//Shelley’s Crimsonwing aka The Rarest African Finch

What does the Shelley’s Crimsonwing look like?!

This is a small beautifully colored elusive terrestrial finch with a body length of about 13 – 14 cm long. This rare species can be tracked for on your African birding safari in Uganda. The males of this species are painted with a striking red on the head, the red stretches along the back and shortly on the tail upperparts. The bills are bright red and wings are patched with red on the upper sides, olive green and black on the lower sides. The neck has a flawless fusion of red and olive green and the lower belly is painted brown while the throat and chest are shaded olive green with black layers fusing through. The females on the other hand have an olive green head with a reddish coloring on the mantle and other body parts. In Africa, Shelley’s Crimsonwing can be found in Uganda (Africa’s true birding paradise), Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. They thrive in moist tropical forests; those particularly located in the lower verdant valleys near a water source. They also prefer forest edges and clearings and glades occurred predominantly by bamboo thickets. The Shelley’s Crimsonwing is birders’ favorite on the list of most sought for birds. It is also a forest endemic species.

Classification of the Shelley’s Crimsonwing

Kingdom          :       Animalia

Phylum            :       Chordata

Class                :       Aves

Order               :       Passseriformes

Family              :       Estrildidae

Genus              :       Cryptospiza

Species            :       Cryptospiza

Scientific Name of the Shelley’s Crimsonwing         : Cryptospiza Shelleyi

Food Habits of the Shelley’s Crimsonwing

These are birds are habitually insectivores and thus pick on different invertebrates for food. They will eat small grass hoppers, small crickets, ants, small caterpillars, termites maggots if when sighted, small earthworms. Other preferred items on menu include freshly grown green seed – heads.

Breeding of the Shelley’s Crimsonwing

These little birds like hens also require privacy to chance breeding. The dome – like nest is established in dense canopy or thick scrubs above the ground.  They usually lay 3 – 6 eggs that are incubated by either parents for the next 13 days. The young begin fledging the next when 3 weeks old. They will spend the next month independent. The females grow darker than males during breeding season.

Eco – System roles of the Shelley’s Crimsonwing

Population control for invertebrates and seed dispersal in plants .

IUCN Report of the Shelley’s Crimsonwing

According to the report from the 2017 IUCN red list, this species was recorded as endangered due to serious habit loss.

Predators of the Shelley’s Crimsonwing

Birding eating mammals and reptiles.

Voicing & Communication of the Shelley’s Crimsonwing

These birds are extremely rare, so little has been documented about their voicing.

Birders seeking to organize a unique Birding tours in Uganda should contact our reservations team for inquiries. We pledge to prepare and guide you on a life changing wildlife safari / tour in any of Uganda’s incredibly endowed Nationals parks. To book a safari or make inquiries, simply send us an email to or call us now on +256-782 061184 to speak with our reservations team.

By |2019-09-18T10:38:32+03:00August 16th, 2019|Rak Safaris Blog|
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