Weaver Wednesday 4  - Weaver themes : Genus Euplectes 22017-08-23 (796)
Weaver Wednesday 4: Weaver themes (Series)
The Euplectes genus will be covered in 4 visual groups: Black and red bishops (5 spp), black and yellow bishops (5 spp), blue-billed widows (2 spp), long-tailed widows (5+1 spp). The Yellow-mantled Widowbird will also be covered in the "black and yellow" group.
Genus Euplectes 2. Long tails
There are 6 widowbirds where the males in breeding plumage have long tails, generally over 100 mm long. The Yellow-mantled Widowbird falls under the "black and yellow" group but is also included here.
The Long-tailed Widowbird has the longest tail of any weaver, sometimes exceeding half a metre! The figure (below) shows the minimum and maximum tail lengths of the 6 widowbirds, for males in breeding plumage only. Several widowbirds have populations with different tail lengths, for instance, the Long-tailed Widowbird in Kenya has the longest tail (416-628 mm), while it is shorter in southern Africa (319-499 mm).
These widowbirds are small to medium sized weavers living mainly in grasslands. The tail is short in females and non-breeding males. The bill is short and conical as the primary diet is seeds. The eyes are brown. The females are brown all year, and are smaller than the males.
These widowbirds are territorial and polygynous, with Jackson's Widowbird being the only weaver that displays at a lek. The nest is a thin-walled oval structure of coarse grass with a side entrance, sometimes with a porch over the entrance. The male may start building nest frames, but the female does most nest-building, unlike the other Euplectes species. The eggs are blue or green, with heavy streaking and spotting. The female incubates and feeds the young.
Weavers with tails over 100 mm long: