The Cut-throat Finch is a common, though inconspicuous, inhabitant of Africa’s savannas and open woodlands, occurring in a band through the Sahel from Senegal to Ethiopia and thence southwards to South Africa, where they are to be found in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and parts of the North West Province. Given its wide distribution and relative abundance, the IUCN considers the Cut-throat Finch to be of least concern though sadly these birds are targeted by the cagebird trade. Seeds and termites form the majority of this finch’s diet – they are subject to nomadic movements in response to the rains and resultant increase in their favourite foods through their range. They require access to reliable water sources.
These small finches; they weigh only about 18g, are found in pairs or small flocks, often associating with other small seed-eating birds. In the breeding season, which spans the summer and autumn months, monogamous Cut-throat Finch pairs use the abandoned nests of other birds, especially weavers, to nest in, laying clutches of 2-7 eggs that hatch after a two-week long incubation period in which both parents take part. The chicks leave the nest about 3 weeks after hatching.
Hybrids between the Cut-throat Finch and the closely-related Red-headed Finch has been recorded in areas where their distribution overlaps.