Estrelda amandava, Lin.
704. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 359 ; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. Ill, p. 496 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 416 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 182 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India ; Ibis, 1885, p. 129.
THE RED WAXBILL. Lal, Hin.
Length, 4 to 4.25 ; expanse, 5.75; wing, 1.8 ; tail, 1.5 ; tarsus, 0.5 ; bill at front, 0.28.
Bill deep red, culmen blackish ; irides crimson ; legs fleshy.
The male, in full summer plumage, is more or less crimson, darkest on the throat, breast, supercilia, cheeks, and upper tail-coverts ; tail black, the outer feathers more or less white tipped; wings brown; a range of minute white feathers beneath the eye, and the wings, flanks and sides of breast with numerous round white spots, and a few smaller specks on the back; abdominal region infuscated ; lower tail-coverts black.
The female is olive-brown above, with the lores blackish, bounded by a whitish semi-circle below the eye; a few white specks occasionally on the back; rump and upper tail-coverts tinged with crimson; beneath paler brown,, the abdomen strongly tinged with fulvous-yellow ; the lower tail-coverts dull white.
After breeding the males assume, by moulting, a plumage similar to that of the female.
The young bird is brown above, paler beneath, whitish on the throat and belly; tail blackish, and a few small white specks on the wings.
The Red Waxbill occurs throughout the Presidency, but is locally distributed ; it is somewhat rare in the Deccan. It is a permanent resident and breeds during September and October, building a rather large globular nest of grass. The eggs, five or six in number, are dead, glossless, white ovals, measuring 0.55 in length by about 0.43 in breadth.