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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 3. Blue-billed widows
There are two widowbirds where the males in breeding plumage have black plumage with coloured wing patches, and bluish bills. These two species are also closely related.
These widowbirds are small to medium sized weavers living mainly in grasslands. Their tails are of medium length (longer than in the bishops, but much shorter than in the long-tailed species). 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. The Fan-tailed Widowbird has rufous underwing coverts in all individuals. The White-winged Widowbird has pale yellow patches on the wing in females. The bills of both females are pinkish horn.
Both species occur in southern and East Africa, with the Fan-tailed Widowbird also extending into West Africa.
These widowbirds are territorial and polygynous. 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. The eggs are blue or green, with streaking and spotting. The female incubates and feeds the young.