African Silverbill, Euodice cantans
The African Silverbill was recently split from the Indian Silverbill (Euodice malabarica); the
former conjoined species went by the common name Warbling Silverbill, which is what these
birds were called when they were introduced to Hawaii in the 1970s. They belong to the
estrildid finch family, and their native habitat is dry savanna in Africa south of the Sahara,
where they flock in enormous numbers. Small, cute, and as melodiously vocal as their scientific
species name suggests, they have long been popular cage birds, and were presumably brought
to Hawaii as such. Thereafter escapees established a flourishing wild population on the leeward
side of the Big Island.
This Warbling Silverbill at its nest in January was captured in this not-very-good photograph as I teetered on the narrow
outside shoulder of Highway 190 where it turns uphill into Puu Anahulu.