Hitherto considered conspecific with E. laticauda (see below). Molecular data indicate that these two species are long-tailed bishops, not closely allied to other widowbirds. Has hybridized in captivity with E. orix, E. hordeaceus, E. macroura and E. axillaris. Males with all-black plumage, occurring through most of range, formerly recognized as race concolor (described from Sierra Leone), but now considered a melanistic morph; also, intermediates between these two morphs recorded in Angola, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Proposed race tropicus (described from Karema, in Tanzania) not recognized. Monotypic.
Senegal (status uncertain), S Mali and Guinea E to Cameroon, Central African Republic, S South Sudan, Uganda, SE Kenya (rare) and C & NE Tanzania S to C & NE Angola, Zambia, Malawi, NW & S Mozambique, Zimbabwe (C plateau), Swaziland, Lesotho lowlands and E South Africa.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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