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Long-tailed Widowbird - BirdForum Opus

Male
Photo of Male by scottishdude
South Africa, 2016
Male
Photo by DARKROOM IMAGES
Euplectes progne

Identification

Length 16-19 cm (breeding male 60 cm), mass 25-46 g. The largest widowbird.

The breeding male unmistakeable with its long tail, broad black wings and red-and-white shoulders.

Distribution

Africa: Three separate populations: One in the Kenyan highlands, one from Angola, northern Zambia and extreme southern Democratic Republic of Congo, and another from eastern South Africa, Lesotho, western eSwatini and extreme south-eastern Botswana.

Female
Photo by Alan Manson
Midmar, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, October 2007

Taxonomy

Subspecies

Each of the three populations is recognised as a subspecies[1]:

  • E. p. delamerei
  • E. p. ansorgei
  • E. p. progne

Habitat

Open tall grassland, usually in valleys.

Behaviour

Forages in flacks on the ground, mainly for seeds, but also eats invertebrates.

Breeding

Male displaying
Photo by Charlie M
Near Johannesburg, South Africa, October 2004

Polygynous and territorial; up to five females per breeding male. The nest is thick-walled, oval structure of woven grass and has a side-top entrance. One to four eggs are incubated for 12-14 days by the female. The nestling period is about 17 days.

Sometimes parasitised by Dideric Cuckoo.

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Recommended Citation

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