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Blue-breasted Cordon-bleus, Blue Waxbill, Common Cordon Bleus

Blue-breasted Cordon-bleus, Blue Waxbill, Common Cordon Bleus | Beauty of Birds

Finch Information ... Index of Finch Species ... Photos of the Different Finch Species for Identification ... Common Health Problems of Finches ... Finch / Canary Diet / Nutrition

Blue-breasted Cordon-bleu, Blue Waxbill, Common Cordon Bleu (Uraeginthus Angolensis), Mombo Camp, Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Botswana, Africa (8/23/09)

Overview ... Alternate (Global) Names

Distribution / Habitat ... Subspecies, Ranges and ID

Description ... Calls / Vocalizations

Breeding / Nesting ... Diet / Feeding

The Blue Waxbills (Uraeginthus angolensis) - also known as the Blue-breasted Cordon-bleu Finches, Southern Cordon-bleus or Southern Blue Waxbills - are fairly common within their range in Southern Africa.

Thes finches were named for their blue plumage details.

Distribution / Habitat

They occur naturally in the African countries of Angola, Botswana, Burundi, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Their natural habitats are open grassland, savanna, bush or wooded areas and cultivated lands, generally avoiding forest interiors. They are often seen feeding on the ground in urban areas.

Subspecies and Ranges:

Have been reported to hybridizes with the related Red-Cheeked Cordon Bleus (Uraeginthus Bengalus) in In southern Tanzania (Songea, Mikindani)., where some of the males have a red patch on the ear-coverts (feathers covering their ears).

Blue-breasted Cordon Bleu, Blue-breasted Cordonbleu (Uraeginthus angolensis angolensis, Linnaeus, 1758) - Nominate Form

Range: Northern / northwestern Angola (including Cabinda) to southern / southwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo. (formerly Zaire), northwestern Zambia and n Zimbabwe; São Tomé

Blue-breasted Cordonbleu (Nyasa), Nyasa Cordonbleu, Nyasa Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus angolensis niassensis, Reichenow, 1911)

Range: Southern Tanzania, southern and southeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe (except western parts) south to northeastern South Africa (northern Limpopo south to KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape) and Swaziland.

Blue-breasted Cordonbleu (cyanopleurus) (Uraeginthus angolensis cyanopleurus. Wolters, 1963)

Range: Southern Angola, western Zambia (west of Kafue National Park), western and northwestern Zimbabwe, northern Namibia, northern Botswana and northern South Africa south to the North West Province and Free State.

Blue-breasted Cordonbleu (natalensis) (Uraeginthus angolensis natalensis, Zedlitz, 1911) - Proposed race; mostly considered one and the same with ssp. U. niassensis.

Range: KwaZulu-Natal in eastern South Africa.

Blue-breasted Cordonbleu (Damaraland), Damaraland Cordonbleu, Damaraland Cordon-bleu (Uraeginthus angolensis damarensis) - Not universally recognized



Blue-breasted Cordon-bleus measure 4.9 - 5.1 inches (12.5 - 13 cm) in length (including the tail).

Plumage Details / Adults


  • The plumage above is uniformly brown.
  • The face, throat, chest, flanks and tail are pale blue.
  • The abdomen is yellowish / buff.


  • Resemble the males, except for ...
    • a duller plumage
    • less extensive blue feathering

Other Physical Details

Legs and feet are flesh-colored.

Juvenile Description

Immature birds resemble females, except for ...

  • the blue being restricted to the face and throat.
  • their bills are black
  • Juvenile males resemble females, except for duller plumage
  • Juvenile females have less extensive blue coloring than immature males.

Behavior / Disposition

  • In captivity, these popular finches are generally peaceful and quiet, but during the breeding season will be protective of their nests.
  • They can grow quite confiding.

Diet / Feeding

Their diet generally consists of grain, grass seeds and other seeds, as well as millets. Occasionally, they also eat beeswax. When raising young in particular, they will consume insects to ensure adequate levels of protein in their chicks' diet - needed for their rapid growth.

Breeding / Nesting / Aviculture

Their large, dome-shape nests are constructed out of twigs and other plant material with a side entrance. These nests are usually placed in trees or bushes.

The average clutch consists of 4 - 5 white eggs.

Information and photographs showing the courtship and mating of the Blue Waxbills by Marie-France, Wildlife Photographer -



These small birds are popular in aviculture and are commonly kept in flights. They generally like to roost on open branches, which makes them susceptible to low temperatures.

They generally accept the readily available finch nest boxes - although nest box preferences will vary depending on what the parents themselves were raised in.

During the breeding season, males can get quite aggressive towards other males.

They are not tolerant to nest inspections or disturbances in general when nesting, and often abandon any eggs or chicks. This should also be taken into consideration with respect to placement of the aviary.

Calls / Vocalizations / Sounds

Alternate (Global) Names

Afrikaans: Gewone Blousysie ... Chinese: ?????? ... Czech: Motýlek angolský ... Danish: Angolasommerfuglefinke ... Dutch: Angolees Blauwfazantje ... Estonian: savanni-lasuuramadiin ... Finnish: Sinipeippo ... French: Astrild bleu, Cordonbleu à dos brun, Cordonbleu d'Angola, Cordonbleu de l'Angola, Cordon-bleu méridional ... German: Angola-Schmetterlingsfink, Blauastrild, Blau-Astrild ... Italian: Cordon blu, Cordon blu pettazzurro ... Japanese: funashiseikichou, ruichigaiseikichou ... Kwangali: Katjikilili Gomuburau ... Norwegian: Angola sommerfuglfink, Blåastrild ... Polish: motylik sawannowy ... Portuguese: Peito-celeste ... Russian: ?????????? ???????? ... Slovak: motýlik belasý ... Shona: Kasisi ... Siswant: Mswili ... Spanish: Azulito Angoleño, Cordón Azul Común ... Swedish: Angolafjärilsfink ... Swahili: Kitendeli Shavu-buluu ... Tsonga: Xindzingiri

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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