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Manu Minute: The Tiny Common Waxbill

Ann Tanimoto-Johnson Common waxbill, AMT_2178.jpg
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson
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Common waxbills are tiny finches, measuring around four inches and weighing eight to nine grams. If you look close enough, you can see fine black bars on their brown plumage.

Common waxbills are among the tiniest birds in the islands. They measure around four inches and weigh up to nine grams. If you look close enough, you can see fine black bars on their brown plumage. But their most distinctive feature is their bright red eye mask.

Like the yellow-fronted canary, the common waxbill is native to sub-Saharan African and was brought to Hawai'i as a decorative cage bird in the 1970s. These little finches have since made their home across the islands in grassy lowlands.

Manu Minute, Common waxbill Spectrogram video.mp4

Audio credit: Peter Boesman/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology (ML279010)

Patrick Hart is the host of HPR's Manu Minute. He runs the Listening Observatory for Hawaiian Ecosystems (LOHE) Lab at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.
Savannah Harriman-Pote is a producer for The Conversation and Manu Minute. Contact her at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
Ann Tanimoto-Johnson is the Lab Manager & Research Technician in the Hart Lab/Listening Observatory for Hawaiian Ecosystems (LOHE) Bioacoustics Lab. She researches the ecology, bioacoustics, and conservation of our native Hawaiian forests, birds, and bats.
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