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Green- and Orange-winged pytilias
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Estrildidae
Genus: Pytilia
Swainson, 1837
Type species
Pytilia phoenicoptera
red-winged pytilia
Swainson, 1837

Pytilia is a genus of small brightly coloured seed-eating birds in the family Estrildidae. They are distributed across Africa.


The genus Pytilia was introduced in 1837 by the English naturalist William John Swainson for the red-winged pytilia.[1][2] The name Pytilia is a diminutive of the genus Pitylus that had been introduced in 1829 by the French naturalist Georges Cuvier for the grosbeaks.[3] A molecular phylogenetic study has shown that the genus is basal to a clade containing the twinspots in the genera Euschistospiza, Hypargos and Clytospiza and the firefinches in Lagonosticta.[4]


The genus contains five species:[5]

Image Common Name Scientific name Distribution
Orange-winged pytilia Pytilia afra Angola, Botswana, Burundi, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Red-winged pytilia Pytilia phoenicoptera Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo and Uganda
Red-billed pytilia Pytilia lineata Ethiopia
Green-winged pytilia Pytilia melba Sub-Saharan Africa
Yellow-winged pytilia Pytilia hypogrammica Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo


  1. ^ Swainson, William John (1837). The Natural History of the Birds of Western Africa. Vol. 1. Edinburgh: W.H. Lizars. p. 203.
  2. ^ Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, ed. (1968). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 14. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 312.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 327. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ Olsson, Urban; Alström, Per (2020). "A comprehensive phylogeny and taxonomic evaluation of the waxbills (Aves: Estrildidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 146: 106757. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2020.106757.
  5. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (July 2021). "Waxbills, parrotfinches, munias, whydahs, Olive Warbler, accentors, pipits". IOC World Bird List Version 11.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 13 July 2021.