Waxbills in Singapore

on 3rd July 2011

Waxbills are estrildid finches (Family: Estrildidae) native to the Old World. These are small and brightly coloured songbirds, popularly sought after as cage birds.

“A few months ago, if you ask anyone about the waxbills in Singapore, you will at best be taken to the nearest bird shops,” wrote Francis Yap, an avid birder-photographer. “Back in February 2011, I managed to photograph an escapee, the Crimson-rumped Waxbill (Estrilda rhodopyga) (above left) and posted it here LINK.

One month later Francis encountered another species, the Common Waxbill (E. astrild) (above right). Then the Orange-cheeked Waxbill (E. melpoda) (below left), followed by the Black-rumped Waxbill (E. troglodytes) (below right).

“Waxbills are African in origin and are brought here by the bird trade. There are many who keep them as pets and subsequently some of these birds escape. Then there are those who were released during certain religious festivals. All these mean that more than a few waxbills make it out to the wild. And when they do, they become photographic subjects,” added Francis.

“From another angle, their presence in the wild here threatens the local grassland bird species as they disturb the prevailing ecological balance, but that’s another story…”

Francis Yap
July 2011

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Overall visits (since 2005)

Clustrmaps (since 2016)