Introducing Ibadan Malimbe, Anambra Waxbill, Jos indigobird, other birds native to Nigeria

...you may not know some birds are Nigerians

The Ibadan malimbe (Malimbus ibadanensis)

…discovered 1951, now endangered because of forest clearing

Ibadan malimbe

This is a rare species of bird in the family of Ploceidae.

It is endemic to Nigeria, where it is known only in the southwestern part of the country including the city of Ibadan, Oyo State capital which it is named after. It was first discovered in 1951 and was common at one point. Forest clearing has probably reduced its population.

The bird is about 20 centimeters long. The male is black with a red head and breast. The female has smaller red areas.

The bird forages in pairs or small groups, sometimes alongside the red-headed malimbe (Malimbus rubricollis). It lives in forest and woodland habitat, including degraded areas.


The rock firefinch (Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis)

…recently discovered in 1998

Rock firefinch

The Rock firefinch is a species of estrildid finch found on the Jos Plateau of North Central Nigeria. It has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 29,000 km². The rock firefinch was discovered recently in 1998. Rock firefinches fall in the family Estrildidae, which contains small passerine birds of the Old World and Australasia. Rock firefinches seem to be most closely related to Mali firefinches and Chad firefinches. The species name sanguinodorsalis means blood-red back, which was chosen because it describes the vibrant red back color of the male plumage. The status of the species is evaluated as least concern.


The Anambra waxbill (Estrilda poliopareia)

…lives in flocks of 20 or more, population still unknown


This unique Anambra Waxbill is a species of estrildid finch found in wetter land of southern Nigeria. It has an estimated global extent of occurrence of 38,000 km2.

The Anambra waxbill is approximately 12 cm long. This species is a dun-coloured finch with reddish brown bill and rump. If looked at closely, it has very fine barring on its upperparts, sides of breast and flanks, with unusual pale eyes. It has a typical waxbill-like tzzzt call.

The Anambra waxbill lives in small flocks of up to 20 birds or more. It appears to be found at southern Nigeria and is known with certainty from only five reported sightings. It is usually found in long grass along rivers, lagoon sandbanks, marshes, swamps and forest. It feeds principally on grass seeds taken from seedheads.

No conservation measures are undertaken yet. However, a population survey was proposed to determine its distribution, habitat requirements and potential threats.


Jos Plateau indigobird (Vidua maryae)

…Lays eggs in another bird’s nest since it can’t incubate

Jos Plateau indigobird

This Plateau bird is a species of bird in the family Viduidae. It is endemic to Nigeria and another bird native to Jos plateau. It lays its eggs in the nest of the rock firefinch which is also a native of Nigeria. Due to their inability to incubate their eggs, they lay their eggs in the nest of the rock firefinch and then take away the exact number of laid eggs from the host bird in order to avoid suspicion from the host bird. After hatching, they exhibit dominance against the hatchlings of the rock firefinchers. Their breeding seasons are all round the year but more pronounced during the cold Harmattan period between July and December.

Its natural habitat are dry woodland and shrubland in rocky areas. It is threatened by habitat loss.


Sahel bush sparrow (Gymnoris dentata) or bush petronia,

…Can fly above 5,000 feet

Sahel bush sparrow

This is a species of bird in the family Passerdae. It is found in Africa from Mauritania to Guinea and east to Eritrea and the south-western Arabian Peninsula in its natural habitats of dry savanna  and subtropical or tropical dry shrubland.

This bush sparrow is found in suitable habitat in a broad belt across the Sahel region of Africa and that is why the Nigerian version of these birds live in the country’s Savanah. Its habitat is typically semi-arid savannah with scattered trees and cultivated clearings near settlements, at altitudes up to about 1,700 m (5,600 ft).

This species has an extremely wide range and is described as common in some parts of its range. The population seems to be steady and no specific threats have been identified, so the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of “least concern”.


Neumann’s Starling

…large whistling bird

Neumann’s Starling
Rufipenne de Neumann. Famille des Sturnidés. Ordre : Passériformes

A large glossy-black starling with a wedge-shaped tail and brick-red windows in the wings that are striking in flight. The male and female have black and gray heads respectively. Pairs and flocks prefer rocky outcrops, cliffs, and gorges, within the savanna zone. Similar to Chestnut-winged Starling, but found in different habitat, and separated by being chunkier, with a much heavier bill and broader tail. The vocalizations are characteristic loud liquid oriole-like contact calls and other musical whistles and warbles.


Shining drongo (Dicrurus atripennis)

…lowland forest bird

Shining drongo

This is a species of bird in the family Dicruridae. It is found in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Garbon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. So in Nigeria they are found along the forest belt of the southern states and may overlap the north central Savanah according to their needs.


Marsh tchagra or blackcap bush-shrike (Bocagia minuta)

…bird discovered in 1858

blackcap bush-shrike 


This is a specie of passerine bird placed in the monotypic genus Bocagia in the family Malaconotidae. It is native to marshes in the tropics and subtropics of Africa. It is sometimes placed in the genus Tchagra.

The marsh tchagra was described by the German ornithologist Gustav Hartlaub in 1858 and given the binomial name Telephonus minutus. The species is now placed in the monotypic genus Bocagia that was introduced by the English ornithologist George Ernest Shelley in 1894.


Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus)

…medium-sized eagle that lays just one egg


This is a medium-sized eagle in the family Accipitridae. It is often considered a relative of the snake eagles and, like them, it is classified within the subfamily Circaetinae. It is the only member of the genus Terathopius and may be the origin of the “Zimbabwe Bird“, the national emblem of Zimbabwe. Adult bateleurs are generally black in colour with a chestnut colour on the mantle as well as also on the rump and tail. Adults also have gray patches about the leading edges of the wings (extending to the secondaries in females) with bright red on their cere and their feet. Adults also show white greater coverts, contrasting with black remiges in males, gray patches on the underwing primaries and black wingtips. The juvenile bateleur is quite different, being largely drab brown with a bit of paler feather scaling. All bateleurs have extremely large heads for their size, rather small bills, large feet, relatively short legs, long, bow-like wings and uniquely short tails, which are much smaller still on adults compared to juvenile birds.

This species is native to broad areas of Sub-Saharan Africa and scarcely up into Arabia. It is characteristically a bird of somewhat open habitats such as savanna with some trees present and open dry woodland.  It is in life history, a rather peculiar bird of prey with a free-wheeling generalist diet that includes much carrion but also tends to hunt a wide range of live prey, including many small to unexpectedly relatively large mammals and reptiles along with generally relatively small birds. Bateleurs are highly aerial birds that spend much time soaring and will frequently flight with exaggerated embellishments, perhaps when excited or angered. They tend to build a relatively small of sturdy stick nest in a large tree and lay only a single egg. Despite being a rather aggressive bird in other contexts, bateleurs are easily flushed from their own nest, making them exceptionally vulnerable to nest predators, including humans, and nest failures. It may take as long as seven to eight years to attain full maturity, perhaps the longest stretch to maturity of any raptor. This species has long been known to be declining rather pronouncedly in overall population and it is mostly confined to protected areas today. Currently it is classified as an Endangered species due primarily to anthropogenic causes such as habitat destructionpesticide usage and persecution.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *