A small West African songbird, Pytilia melba (family Estrildidae), the male of which has a bright red face and tail, and a yellow breast.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. From scientific Latin melba, specific name (LinnaeusSystema Naturae (ed. 10, 1758) I. 180), of unknown origin + finch.