A bird whose head is topped off with bright red eye patches and emerald green plumage complemented by a perfect polka dot flecked belly.
Meet the Green-backed twinspot
The green-backed twinspot or green twinspot (Mandingoa nitidula), is an estrildid finch found in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. A very cute, small chunky bird, with dark green plumage and white “twin spots” across his black belly. The male has a bright red patch on his face as well as on the tip of his beak.
The female is similar to the male, though she does have yellow patches on her face as opposed to the male’s red.
Juveniles lack the face color and twinspot flecks the adults have.
Photo Courtesy of Francesco Veronesi / CC BY-SA 2.0
The green-backed twinspot inhabits lowland moist forests of the tropical region. It may also be found in grassland and shrubland habitats, as well as arable land, and also exotic tree plantations.
These birds dine mainly on grass seeds like basket grass, ribbon bristle grass, and forest wood grass. They will also eat stinging nettle and some small insects like aphids.
In South Africa, these birds breed from December through to April as monogamous couples that can mate for life. Both sexes build the nest, made mainly from grass stems, skeletonized leaves, rootlets, twigs, and lichen. The interior is lined with feathers, fine grass, and other soft material, usually concealed in the tree canopy. 4 – 6 eggs are laid within which are incubated by both parents for 12 – 14 days. Both sexes go on to feed the young who become fledged after 17 days.
This species has a large breeding range, however, due to difficulties in observing it its population has not been quantified. The population is not thought to be under any immediate threat.