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Village indigobird

Vidua chalybeata
Photo by Rob Nagtegaal (PBase)

Common name:
village indigobird (en); viúva-azul (pt); combassou du Sénégal (fr); viuda de la villa (es); rotfuß-Atlaswitwe (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Viduidae

This African species is found from Senegal to Ethiopia, and south through Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi and into Mozambique, eastern Botswana and north-eastern South Africa.

These birds are 11-12 cm long and weigh 12-13 g.

Village indigobirds are mostly found in dry Acacia savannas and scrublands, especially along rivers, but also in sparse woodlands, plantation, arable land and gardens within human settlements.

They mainly eat grass seeds, but will also take some insects.

In southern Africa the village indigobirds breeds in December-June. They are polygynous, with each male mating with several females. Village indigobirds are brood parasites, usually laying their eggs on the nests of the red-billed firefinch Lagonostica senegala, as well as other firefinch species such as the brown firefinch Lagonostica nitidula. Each female lays 1-4 eggs per day, for a total of 22-26 per season, and usually removes or eats the eggs of the hosts. The hosts incubate the eggs for 11-12 days and feed the chicks until they fledge, 17-18 days after hatching, and often continue to feed them for another 2 weeks.

IUC status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common to locally common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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