Fluttering against the cage bars is a WHITE-HEADED NUN from the Netherlands Indies and the Malay Peninsula. Perched on the upper branches are the BROWN-BREASTED NUN(left) and the BLACK-HEADED NUN. To the lower branches cling the THREE-COLORED NUN (full face) from India and Ceylon, the CUTTHROAT FINCH (left center), and the lovely CORDON BLEU (blue underparts). In the water splash the tiny ZEBRA WAXBILL (above) and the COMMON WAXBILL (left). The long-lived BRONZE NUN rests on the pool’s brink.
By Alexander Wetmore
Originally appeared in the December 1938 issue of the National Geographic Magazine
This Web version COPYRIGHT 2004
The name of the cutthroat finch (Antadina fasciata) – which, though called a finch, is a member of the weaver family – is taken from the crimson mark across the throat in the male (Color Plate VII). The female lacks this character but is otherwise similar. The bird is found wild in the drier sections of Africa, from Senegal to Somaliland and Rhodesia.
Cutthroat finches are easily handled in captivity, and are popular in aviaries. They often have a tendency to become darker in color when caged, caused sometimes, possibly, by eating hemp seed.