Klaserie River Sands

The lovely long-tailed widowbird

Written by Chris Jek 

Euplectes Progne, or better known as the long-tailed widowbird, can be spotted all over the savannah grassland in summer.

long-tailed widowbird

The best places to see a widowbird is on the outskirts of Gauteng – which is where all my pictures have been taken.

long-tailed widowbird

Now except to a few passionate birders, it doesn’t look like the most spectacular bird one can dream of in the above image. But below is the same bird again, a few month later. In just a few weeks, it has become one of the most vivacious birds in the Highveld.

long-tailed widowbird

long-tailed widowbird

long-tailed widowbird

It is nesting time for long-tailed widow birds, and the male will do what it takes to attract females, even if he has to struggle a little for balance on windy days. From sunrise to sunset, he patrols his large territory, chasing other males from his domain.

Alongside the male widowbird’s spectacular flight displays, males often perform ‘static’ displays. During a static display the male arches his wings flashing his red-and-white shoulder feathers. He erects his feathers in a hood-like shape, as he makes a “chick-chick-chick” call attracting the attention of any nearby females.

long-tailed widowbird



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