Indian Silverbill

Why this post?

You must be wondering why I am telling you about a small brown Indian bird that is even smaller than a sparrow. Why? Because they are ranked as number one in the illegal pet trade. Sometimes Silverbills are dyed in exotic colours and sold under false names. 

They are sent to other countries and are sold as caged birds. So there is a fair chance that you may see these birds in your part of the world as well. These are not breeds or domesticated varieties but are actually wild birds. I feel we can discourage this trade by not buying these birds.

How they look:


Collecting nesting material…

They seem to be wearing a dull brown coat with a white front and pale sides. Only their wing edges and their tails are black. The tails have some rust color too. They have small dark eyes and silver beaks [as their name suggests]. In flight, a white patch above the tail is distinctly seen.




They are grass seed eaters and their behavior is generally similar to that of sparrows.

Unlike predatory birds, they don’t have any defence like sharp claws or hooked beaks, so they managed by staying in large groups. I read in a bird book that their flock size used to be around 60. Today the number is nowhere close to that.


Hidden in thorny branch…

So, what does the poor bird do? They almost always hide in thorny branches and remain very quiet. They also seem very scared. Their nest is also very well hidden in dense bushes.


Strength in numbers…

Threats they face:

Because of their small size, it may be easy for those who trap these birds, to hide them and because they remain in groups, it may be easy to capture them all.




  • Interesting posts Aditya

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  • Thank-you so much for blogging about Indian birds! Your writing and photos are excellent – I really like the focus on the feelings of the birds, and their life stories. This gives me so much empathy for their lives. Sadly, it sounds like many of India’s birds are facing threats and in decline. RB

    • I think birds all over the world are facing threats, most common being rapid urbanization and deforestation which is robbing them of their habitat. I see that mentioned on your blog as well. Hunting is another big threat.

      We all need to be more sensitive to their problems. That is the main reason I started this blog. I want to make it interesting and easy to understand for everyone.

      Thanks for your visit and your kind words.

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