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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