Photographs showing the courtship and mating of the Blue Waxbills

Photographs showing the courtship and mating of the Blue Waxbills

Photos and article by Marie-France GRENOUILLET


Kruger N.P. - South Africa - April 2016


The blue waxbill (Uraeginthus angolensis) - also called blue-breasted cordon-bleu - is a common species of finch found in Southern Africa.  The male and the female are nearly similar.  Each species of finches has its own unique set of courtship behaviors, such that the song and dance.

In this courtship display, the male will hold a piece of nesting material, a long piece of grass in his beak (pic. n°1).

Male Blue Waxbill presents a blade of grass to the female to initiate courtship

He will perch near the female with his tail angled toward her (pic. n°2).

Male perches close to the female

He sing while bobbing up-and-down and throwing his head back each time he rises (pic. n°3).

Male Blue Waxbill performs a mating dance

The male peck at the head of the female immediately prior the very short copulation. (pic. n°4).

Male pecks at the female's neck as part of the mating ritual

Blue waxbills reproduce using their cloaca, this occurs during a “cloacal kiss” and usually involves the hen lifting her tail (pic. n°5 and n°6), the cock placing one leg over her back while flapping his wings frantically (pic. n°7 and n°8).

Blue Waxbill Mating Ritual

Blue Waxbill Mating Ritual

Finally, this entire ordeal has taken less than three seconds (pic. n°9).

Blue Waxbill Mating Ritual