Red-headed finches inhabit dry savanna and grassland habitats, where they feed mainly on seeds and small insects. They are dependent on a reliable supply of drinking water and is therefore highly nomadic, especially in the dry season. They are frequently encountered in urban and agricultural areas, where the provision of water has aided an expansion of their distribution. Red-headed Finches grow to 14cm in length and weigh up to 27g.
Red-headed finches are usually encountered in flocks of varying sizes, often mixed with other small seed-eating birds. They breed throughout the year inside the abandoned nests of other birds or in holes in trees or buildings, with most eggs laid from late summer to spring. Females may lay as many as 11 eggs, though clutches usually number 4 to 6 eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs for around 2 weeks, with the hatchlings leaving the nest when they’re between 2 and 3 weeks old.
The IUCN considers the Red-headed Finch to be of least concern, describing their population as common and stable. In South Africa they occur across portions of all our provinces, with their distribution further extending into Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Unfortunately there is a market for wild caught Red-headed Finches in the pet trade.