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Fan-tailed Widowbird | Euplectes axillaris

The Fan-tailed Widowbird is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Ploceidae bird family group which includes birds such as Weavers, Queleas, Windowbirds.

The description for the Fan-tailed Widowbird (Latin name Euplectes axillaris) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Euplectes axillaris can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 828 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 1031. You will find a picture of the Fan-tailed Widowbird on page 1025.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Red-shouldered Widow in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Fan-tailed Widowbird is known in Afrikaans as Kortstertflap.

The Fan-tailed Widowbird has a height of 15 cms and weighs around 29 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured black. The Euplectes axillaris has a black coloured throat, black legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Euplectes axillaris has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are black

Throat is black

Back is black

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The Fan-tailed Widowbird is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is found in the African bushveld

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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