Melba Finch / Beaumarquet melba / Buntastrild / Pitilia melba / Bonte Astrilde / Melba
World: Africa S of 15°N, absent from the arid SW of the continent and also from eastern Somalia. Also mostly absent from the lowland equatorial forests in the W.
Kenya: Found below 1800m across most of the country in dry bush, scrub and woodland.
This is a common species but it is shy and somewhat silent so, despite its distinctive colouring, it can be easy to miss. They forage in pairs (or occasionally in small family groups) low in the undergrowth or on the ground. They tend not to fly more than a few metres at a time. The sexes are similar except that the female (pictured above) has a uniformally grey head while the male has a red face with the red running down to the upper breast.