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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.

This Manu Minute was made with field recordings from the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Patrick Hart interests in the ecology and conservation of Hawaiian forests and forest birds stem from years of living in a primitive field camp as a graduate student in the 1990’s at Hakalau Forest National wildlife refuge.
Savannah Harriman-Pote rejoined The Conversation in 2021 after interning for Hawaiʻi Public Radio in the summers of 2018 and 2019. She also produces HPR's podcast Manu Minute in collaboration with The University of Hawaii at Hilo. She was born and raised on the Big Island, and she collects public radio mugs.
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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