Weaver species categoryChoose different species category from drop-down list and press 'Go' button.
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. The Red-collared Widow is genetically closest to the bishops but is covered in the visual "long tailed" 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.
The two Bubalornis buffalo-weavers also have tails longer than 100 mm but the tail length relative to their body size is not particularly large.
Weavers with tails over 100 mm long:
LtW= Long-tailed Widowbird Euplectes progne
MMW= Montane Marsh Widowbird Euplectes psammocromius
RcW= Red-collared Widowbird Euplectes ardens
JW= Jackson's Widowbird Euplectes jacksoni
MW= Marsh Widowbird Euplectes hartlaubi
YmW= Yellow-mantled Widowbird Euplectes macroura