Family Whydahs and Indigobirds (Viduidae)

Least Concern

Long-tailed Paradise-whydah (Vidua paradisaea)


French: Veuve de paradis German: Schmalschwanzwitwe Spanish: Viuda del paraíso
Other common names: Eastern Paradise-whydah

Emberiza paradisæa


, 1758,

Africa = Angola


Formerly considered conspecific with V. obtusa, V. orientalis, V. interjecta and V. togoensis, and all sometimes placed in a separate genus, Steganura. Molecular data#R indicate that present species and V. obtusa are sister-species. Occasional hybridization with indigobirds (species undetermined) recorded. Certain specimens in tattered plumage from E Sudan and Eritrea suggest interbreeding between present species and V. orientalis. Monotypic.


SE Sudan, Ethiopia (absent Ogaden desert and E Bale), Somalia (W of 47° E), SE South Sudan, E DRCongo (Ruzizi Valley, in Kivu), NE Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and from W & S Angola and S Zambia E to Malawi and Mozambique and S to C Namibia, C & SE Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and N & NE South Africa.

Descriptive notes

13–14 cm, breeding male 36–39 cm; 18–24 g. Male breeding has top and side of head black, nape golden-yellow (straw-coloured when plumage faded), upperparts... read more


Male mimics calls and songs of host species, the Melba Finch; songs vary in elements and sequence,... read more


Woodland with scattered trees and bushes, mainly acacia (Acacia) woodland and other semi-... read more

Food and feeding

Small grass seeds, scattered on open ground, along tracks, paths, roadsides, and near old livestock pens and water sites. In Zambia, takes... read more


Eggs in May–Jun in Ethiopia; males in breeding plumage May–Aug, and into Oct in wet years, in Kenya (L Baringo); in Tanzania,... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common. Common in Kenya below 1400 m, in coastal bush to lower R Tana, Voi, Samburu, L Baringo to Turkana, Kerio and Rift Valleys, Tsavo and... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). Long-tailed Paradise-whydah (Vidua paradisaea). 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 22 March 2019).