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Village Indigobird - BirdForum Opus

Vidua chalybeata
V. c. chalybeata
Photo by Reini
Tendaba, The Gambia, November 2005


Length 11-12 cm, mass 11.1-16.4 g.

Breeding male: Glossy black plumage. Legs and feet orange, and eyes dark brown. Bill red or white, depending on subspecies: Red in eastern Africa, white west of Victoria falls and pale in the Gambia.


Sub-Saharan Africa:
Western Africa: Mauritania, Senegambia, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola
Eastern Africa: Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland

V. c. amauropteryx
Photo by Steve G
North of Malindi, coastal Kenya, August 2007


Six subspecies:


Savanna, rank vegetation near rivers, roads, croplands and human settlements, and mopane woodlands near water.



Feeds on grass seeds (1-2 mm in diameter) on the ground; termite aletes are also eaten, as is cereal meal in villages. Breeding females eat the eggs of the host.


Brood parasite of mainly the Red-billed Firefinch.


Fry H, Keith S,Woodcook M & Willis I. 2004. Birds of Africa Vol VII: Sparrows to Buntings. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0713665319

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