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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Shaft-tailed Whydah

Afrikaans name: Pylstertrooibekkie

A male Shaft-tailed Whydah in breeding plumage.

Photo © EcoView -

Vidua regia

During the summer breeding season the male Shaft-tailed Whydah has stunning looks but, for the rest of the year, it has drab brownish plumage like the female.

The Shaft-tailed Whydah is only found in Southern Africa from South Africa through to Angola.

They prefer open and drier areas such as those found in savanna.

The Shaft-tailed Whydah feeds exclusively on grass seeds which it looks for on the ground.

The Shaft-tailed Whydah parasitises the Violet-eared Waxbill although sometimes it will use either the Blue or Black-faced Waxbill as a host.

They search for suitable hosts for their eggs and then the female lays one egg per day in the nest of the unsuspecting hosts.


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 34

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 82

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 224

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 768

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 767

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 426

List of South African Birds

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