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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Archosauromorpha
Cladus: Crurotarsi
Divisio: Archosauria
Subsectio: Ornithodira
Subtaxon: Dinosauromorpha
Cladus: Dinosauria
Ordo: Saurischia
Cladus: Theropoda
Cladus: Neotheropoda
Infraclassis: Aves
Ordo: Passeriformes
Subordo: Passeri
Infraordo: Passerida
Superfamilia: Passeroidea

Familia: Estrildidae
Genus: Cryptospiza
Species: C. jacksoni - C. reichenovii - C. salvadorii - C. shelleyi
Cryptospiza Salvadori, 1884

The crimsonwings (Cryptospiza) are a genus of small passerine birds belonging to the estrildid finch family (Estrildidae). There are four species. They are found in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly the Albertine Rift; all four species occur there and two, Shelley's and dusky crimsonwings, are found nowhere else. They are secretive birds which mainly inhabit mountain forests with dense undergrowth. They usually forage on or near the ground, feeding mainly on seeds such as those of grasses and balsam.

They are 11–13 cm long with short wings and a short, rounded tail. The bill is thick and conical and either black or red. They all have a reddish back and rump and olive or grey underparts. Juvenile birds are duller than the adults.

Destruction and degradation of their forest habitat is a potential threat to the crimsonwings and Shelley's crimsonwing is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN.
Species list

Image Common Name Scientific name Distribution
Red-faced crimsonwing, Cryptospiza reichenovii, Seldomseen, Vumba, Zimbabwe - female (21309968393).jpg Red-faced crimsonwing Cryptospiza reichenovii Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Abyssinian Crimsonwing (Cryptospiza salvadorii) (male).jpg Abyssinian crimsonwing Cryptospiza salvadorii Ethiopia, Uganda
Dusky crimsonwing Cryptospiza jacksoni Africa
Shelley's crimsonwing Cryptospiza shelleyi Burundi, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and western Uganda in Africa.


Clement, Peter; Harris, Alan & Davies, John (1993) Finches and Sparrows: An Identification Guide, Christopher Helm, London.
Sinclair, Ian & Ryan, Peter (2003) Birds of Africa south of the Sahara, Struik, Cape Town.

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Biology Encyclopedia

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