Bird of the Month

Cordon Bleu Finch

This little turquoise jewel at the Bloedel Conservatory is a Blue-capped Cordon Bleu finch (Uraeginthus cyanocephalus). He measures approximately 5 inches long and is native to the dry bushy areas of east Africa. The females are a slightly paler blue than the males and have brown on top of their heads.

The Cordon Bleu finch is a delicate songbird. They are also called Cordon Bleu Waxbills, so named for their cone shaped bill that is often bright red, similar to the colour of sealing wax. There are 2 other species of Cordon Bleu finches that are also native to equatorial Africa: the Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu (Uraeginthus bengalus), and the Blue-breasted Cordon Bleu (Uraeginthus angolensis).

In the wild, these finches feed mainly on seeds, ants and termites. At the Conservatory, they enjoy millet throughout the day and mealy worms in the mornings. You can often see him sharing the seed bowl with his buddies the Zebra and Bengalese finches or taking a bath at the watering hole.

Unlike other finch species, both males and females will sing. During their courtship dance, the male will hold a piece of nesting material in its beak while singing a beautiful song to the female. All the while he jumps up and down, then back and forth on his perch. The female will follow his lead, by jumping up and down and encouraging him by taking the nest material (watch video here). They will then take this material and weave a tunnel shaped nest to lay and incubate their eggs.