waxbill, common name for small, brightly colored weaver finches of the Estrildini tribe of the family Estrildidae. Most are African with the exception of two S Asian species of avadavats, and one Australian species ( Estrilda temporalis ), which may not properly belong in this group. Considerable adaptive radiation may be seen in the African species, which include a number of small seedeaters such as the lavender finch ( E. subflava ); larger seedeaters such as the bluebills (genus Spermophaga ); large-headed and large-billed species (genus Pirenestes ); the arboreal, insect-catching Negro finches (genus Nigrita ); and the tiny, short-billed, omnivorous flower-pecker finch ( Parmoptila woodhousei ). Timid, social birds, waxbills are typically found in small flocks but may sometimes descend upon a field en masse. They tend to form stable, long-lasting pairs, and both mates share in nesting, incubation, and the care of the offspring. Their pure white eggs number from 4 to 10 per clutch. Their young are curiously marked on palate and tongue; a five-dot, domino pattern on the palate is common and is displayed by the nestlings when begging for food. Waxbills are classified in the phylum Chordata , subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Estrildidae.
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