Orange-cheeked waxbill

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The orange-cheeked waxbill (Estrilda melpoda) is a common species of estrildid finch native to western and central Africa, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 3,600,000 km2.

Originating in Western Africa, they are found in open grassland with light tree and/or shrub coverage, also along watercourses, in gardens and cultivated fields. They are also commonly found in dry savannah habitats of Angola, Benin, Bermuda, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Zambia. It also has a recent range expansion into western parts of Uganda. It also can be found at subtropical/ tropical (lowland) wet shrubland habitats. The IUCN has classified the species as being of least concern. It is introduced on Puerto Rico and Saipan in the United States.

Orange cheeks like a lot of grass. They eat the seed heads, forage at roots for tiny insects, and build their nests directly in grass. Some open tall shrubbery and dead, scraggly branches should be provided for roosting. The floor should be composed of a good, dry substrate. Otherwise, the enclosure should have stands of clump and/or runner grasses and reeds which grow 40 cm or taller. Care should be taken to establish walkways through the grass for maintaining the habitat so nests will not be stepped on. source

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