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Weaver Wednesday 4 [270] - Weaver themes [7]: Genus Euplectes 1

2017-08-16 (795)

gravit8 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 spp). The Red-collared Widow is genetically closest to the bishops but will be covered in the last group.

Genus Euplectes 1. Black and red bishops

There are 5 bishops where the males in breeding plumage are black and red. The Fire-fronted Bishop has a little red (on the forehead) but much more yellow and thus falls in the second group.

These bishops are small, short-tailed weavers living in grasslands and wetlands. The bill is short and conical as the primary diet is seeds. The eyes are brown. The females are brown all year, and are slightly smaller than the males.

These bishops 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 nest is built by the male, and lined by the female. The eggs are blue, sometimes with fine spotting. The female incubates and feeds the young.

The table below shows some plumage differences in the breeding males. The species are ordered by average wing size of males (Southern Red Bishop and Black Bishop populations vary in size geographically).

Species Wing
Forehead & crown Chin & breast
Zanzibar Bishop Euplectes nigroventris 58.8 red black
Northern Red Bishop Euplectes franciscanus 62.9 black red
Southern Red Bishop Euplectes orix 70-75 black & red black & red
Black-winged Bishop Euplectes hordeaceus 75.7 red black & red
Black Bishop Euplectes gierowii 79-87 black black & red

Northern Red Bishop
Northern Red Bishop male
Southern Red Bishop
Southern Red Bishop
Black Bishop
Black Bishop male
Zanzibar Bishop
Zanzibar Bishop male
Black-winged Bishop
Black-winged Bishop male (& female)