Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Long-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes progne)


French: Euplecte à longue queue German: Hahnenschweifweber Spanish: Obispo colilargo

Emberiza progne


, 1783,

“Cape of Good Hope“, South Africa


Race delacouri relatively distinctive, breeding males having a blackish vs steel-blue upper mandible and no white in the epaulet; further study, including analysis of vocalizations, desirable. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. p. delacouri Wolters, 1953 – Delacour's Widowbird – S DRCongo, S Angola and W & NE Zambia.
  • E. p. delamerei (Shelley, 1903) – highlands of C Kenya.
  • E. p. progne (Boddaert, 1783) – Long-tailed Widowbird – extreme SE Botswana, E South Africa, W Swaziland and Lesotho.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male breeding (including tail) 50–71 cm, male non-breeding 19–21 cm, female c. 15 cm; male 33–46 g, female 25–39 g. Male nominate race breeding is... read more


    Song in flight a high-pitched and repetitive "twi-twi-twi-twi-zizizizi"; also a sizzling... read more


    Grassland, often areas of short grass, not necessarily in damp or marshy habitats, at 1800–... read more

    Food and feeding

    Main food seeds of grasses such as Setaria sphacelata, Paspalum dilatatum, Paspalum distichum, Pennisetum... read more


    Breeds Feb in Angola, Dec–Apr in DRCongo, Apr–May in Zambia, Nov–Jan in Kenya, and Oct–Jun (primarily Nov–Feb... read more


    Resident, with local movements; birds not present at breeding sites throughout year.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common. Abundant in S of range, although localized in Swaziland, where estimated population 1200 individuals. N populations, especially in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. (2020). Long-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes progne). 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 20 February 2020).