Black-winged bishop

Black-winged bishop
Euplectes hordeaceus
Photo by Martin Goodey (Flickr)

Common name:
black-winged bishop (en); bispo-de-coroa-vermelha (pt)euplecte monseigneur (fr); obispo de corona roja (es); flammenweber (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Ploceidae

This African species is found from southern Mauritania and Senegal to Ethiopia, and south to Angola, Zambia, northern Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

These birds are 12-15 cm long and weigh 18-20 g.

Black-winged bishops are found in tall grasslands, moist scrublands and woodlands, especially near water. They are also found in cultivated land, especially rice paddies.

They mainly eat grass seeds, namely Panicum maximum, Hyparrhenia, Pennisetum and Rottboellia, but also cultivated crops such as rice and green maize. They may also occasionally hawk insects from a low perch.
These birds breed in January-April. They are polygynous, with each male mating with several females. The male builds several nests, oval-shaped structures made of woven grass with a large side-top entrance concealed by a hood of grass inflorescences. The nests are typically placed between grass stems or in coarse vegetation, usually over dry ground. Each female lays 2-4 bluish-green eggs, which she incubates alone for 12-13 days. The chicks are fed by the female and fledge 11-13 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
The black-winged bishop has a very large breeding range and is described as common to uncommon. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats, and may be benefiting from the expansion of rice cultivation in many parts of its range.

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