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Dusky Indigobird

From Opus

(Redirected from Variable Indigobird)

Alternative name: Variable Indigobird

Male in breeding plumage.Photo by megan perkinsCreighton, South Africa, January 2007
Male in breeding plumage.
Photo by megan perkins
Creighton, South Africa, January 2007
Vidua funerea


[edit] Identification

Length 11-12 cm, mass 15 g
Adult breeding male: Dull bluish or greenish black; Tail and flight feathers blackish brown. Eyes dark brown, bill white or pale pink, legs and feet orange-red.
Adult non-breeding male and adult female: Head with bold buff and dark brown stripes and back buff, streaked black. Greyish white below, darker on breast and flanks.

[edit] Similar Species

The southern race can be distiguished from other Indigobirds by the pale bill and orange-red legs and feet. However, the northern race (found north of the Limpopo River) is very similar to the Purple Indigobird; here it is best distiguished by call.

FemalePhoto by Alan MansonPietermaritzburg, South Africa
Photo by Alan Manson
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

[edit] Distribution

Sub-Saharan Africa. Discontinuous; Malawi, much of Zambia, eastern Zimbabwe, parts of Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho and eastern South Africa. There are isolated populations in Tanzania, Kenya, Cameroon and Nigeria.

[edit] Taxonomy

Vidua funerea has two subspecies:

  • V. f. funerea from eastern South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique south of the Limpopo River; legs and feet orange-red in adult breeding male and pale purplish grey or pale orange in female; and
  • V. f. nigerrima from eastern Zimbabwe northwards; slightly smaller than the nominate race; the legs and feet are pale purple in both sexes.
JuvenilePhoto by CollinBaxImfolozi, KwaZulu-Natal, December 2009
Photo by CollinBax
Imfolozi, KwaZulu-Natal, December 2009

[edit] Habitat

Woodland, forest edges, grassy rank vegetation, cultivated lands and gardens.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Forages on bare and sparsely vegetated ground for small seeds. Takes termite aletes in flight. Females and nonbreeding males are inconspicuous, often feeding in mixed-species flocks.

[edit] Breeding

The Dusky Indigobird is a brood parasite, the host species being the African Firefinch.

[edit] Vocalisation

Males are conspicuous in breeding season when they call for long periods from a prominent perch.
Male gives harsh 'chichichichi' call
Song: incorporates both scratchy notes and trills and tinkling phrases from the song of the African Firefinch (host).

[edit] References

  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at

[edit] External Links


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