Very small exotic bird (approx 11 cm or 4.5 in) from sub-Saharan Africa. Brown upperparts and ocher underparts, in both cases with a soft barring. Smooth throat of greyish tones, black lower part of the tail and reddish spot in the underparts (absent in females). Red mask and bill and brown cap on the head.
African species naturalized in the south of the Iberian Peninsula by releases of commercial birds. It prefers riparian vegetation, dense reedbeds in wetlands and irrigated agricultural plains.
Species resident in the province. Very gregarious outside the breeding season, it moves in large flocks. Territorial during the reproductive season. The Common Waxbill can breed any month of the year, laying 4 to 6 eggs. Nest in the shape of a ball of dried grass located among the riparian vegetation, in climbing plants or in vines.
In Malaga it is a frequent and common species in the low plains of the Guadalhorce and Vélez rivers. Large flocks of this bird occupy reedbeds, as well as sugarcane and corn fields.
The "Coral Bill" (its name in Spanish, so called because of the reddish colour it shows on its bill, like that of red coral) is a very cautious species: it usually builds a false nest over the real one. In this way it tries to divert attention from predators. The name "Estrilda" derives from the popular African with which the bird is known, "star".