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 common waxbill (Estrilda astrild), of plainer coloration. longer tail. and slightly larger size, is also a native of Africa. It varies somewhat in depth of color. there being several geographic forms. and also sometimes changes through conditions imposed by captivity.
There are several other kinds of waxbills, all of them rather difficult to handle until they are accustomed to aviary conditions. After that they are quite hardy.