Above: The red-headed finch has been chosen as the 2019 WFS Target Species. Only four were bred by WFS members in 2018 © Shutterstock.com/Tobie Oosthuizen


THE WAXBILL FINCH Society (WFS) has issued its 2018 breeding records and announced its 2019 Target Species: the red-headed finch (Amadina erythroceph­ala).

Each year, the WFS chooses a species and any member who breeds it is pre­sented with an award the fol­lowing year. The society runs each species for three years and, after the first year, it issues a diploma for any of these birds bred. The 2018 Target Species was red- winged pytilia (Pytilia phoen­icoptera), while 2016’s was orange-cheeked waxbill (Estrilda melpoda) and 2017’s was red-cheeked cor­don bleu (Uraeginthus bengalus).

In 2018, there were 26 red-winged pytilia bred. WFS membership secre­tary and breeding records officer, Neil Bickell, said: “It was good to see an increase in red-winged pyt­ilia, but unfortunately, there weren’t too many about for us to work with. We would have liked to see them in the higher 30s.”

Also in 2018, the WFS had a first recorded breeding of a chestnut-breasted nigrita (Nigrita bicolor) by Mark Dancer (see March 13, 2019 issue), while the Javan man­nikin (Lonchura leucogas­troides), white-rumped man­nikin (L. striata) and Mali firefinch (Lagonos­ticta virata) were recorded for the first time in many years; the latter two species were bred by Chris Ventouris from Greece.

Mr Bickell explained how the WFS chooses its tar­get species: “The target spe­cies are decided by a poll vote between the committee members. Usually, I make a few recommendations then I give the rest a week or so to put forward species. We pull up a shortlist and have a final vote.

“The only criteria we stip­ulate is that the chosen spe­cies need to be affordable (maximum price £120 pair) and reasonably available (always difficult to predict). Red-headed finches are often overlooked, more so than the close relative the cut-throat finch.”

The presentation of Tar­get Species diplomas, the Outstanding Breeding awards and Meritorious Breeding awards will be pre­sented at the WFS AGM, this summer.

For more information on the WFS, visit: www.waxbillfinch­society.org.uk


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