Family Whydahs and Indigobirds (Viduidae)

Least Concern

Cameroon Indigobird (Vidua camerunensis)


French: Combassou du Cameroun German: Kamerunwitwe Spanish: Viuda camerunesa
Other common names: Fonio Indigobird

Hypochera chalybeata camerunensis


, 1922,

between Nola and Mbaika = Central African Republic


Formerly considered a race of V. chalybeata; was often treated as conspecific with V. wilsoni, V. nigeriae and V. larvaticola, and sometimes also with V. funerea. Described taxa Hypochera chalybeata sharii and V. funerea sorora are synonyms of present species. Precise geographical distribution uncertain; populations in Chad and Central African Republic may consist of this species, V. larvaticola or both, and those in NW & W Ethiopia, currently treated within V. larvaticola#R, were previously included in present species; further study required. In W Africa, no difference in plumage colour or size among males mimicking different species of estrildid finch. Monotypic.


Guinea-Bissau, S Mali, Guinea, N Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, W & C Cameroon, S Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, NE & W DRCongo (Uele, Equateur, Bandundu), and E Congo (N’gabé).

Descriptive notes

10–11 cm; 11–14 g. Male breeding is black with blue to bluish-green gloss, concealed white flank spot; tail brown, wing with inner three secondaries and their... read more


Song churring and scratchy, mixed with imitations of songs and calls of hosts. Each male uses... read more


Wooded or shrubby edges of rivers, roads and grassy cultivated lands, especially fonio (... read more

Food and feeding

Small grass seeds, taken from ground. Especially fond of fonio (known also as "hungry rice") when this harvested in Sept–... read more


Males in breeding plumage and courting in Oct in Guinea-Bissau and (also with mating) in Guinea, and males in breeding plumage courting and... read more


Resident. Possibly a seasonal migrant in NE DRCongo (Uele), where flocks not seen in non-breeding... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common. In most of its range, occurs with African Firefinch and Black-bellied Firefinch. Has been observed continuously at Tibati, in... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). Cameroon Indigobird (Vidua camerunensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 23 March 2019).