The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Fan-tailed Widow

Afrikaans name: Kortstertflap

Male Fan-tailed Widow at Albert Falls Dam

Male Fan-tailed Widowbird

Photo © Steven Herbert

Euplectes axillaris

The male Fan-tailed Widow is easily distinguished during summer with its black plumage, red shoulder patches and relatively short tail. Outside of the breeding season it is brown with paler red patches on is wings. Females are nondescript brown.

Males are territorial during the breeding season and may nest with four females. The nests are made in long grass. Each female lays 2 or 3 eggs and she incubates them without assistance from the male.

The main food of the Fan-tailed Widow is grass seeds. They also eat termites and some caterpillars.

Male Fan-tailed Widow at Albert Falls Dam

Photo © Steven Herbert

These widowbirds are found in the eastern regions of South Africa where they occupy marshy areas and grasslands.

References and further reading

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 349

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 123

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 55

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 424

LBJs - Author: Newman, Johnson, Solomon, Masterson - Published: 1998 - Page: 124

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 416

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 414

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 439

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 569

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 580

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 737

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 736

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 390

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 260

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 78

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 212

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 310

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 112

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 117

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 216

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 278

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 28

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 28

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 311

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List of South African Birds

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