Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Montane Widowbird (Euplectes psammacromius)


French: Euplecte montagnard German: Reichenowweber Spanish: Obispo montano
Other common names: Montane Marsh Widowbird, Buff-shouldered Widowbird

Penthetria psammocromia


, 1900,

Ukinga, Tanzania


Formerly treated as conspecific with E. hartlaubi. Monotypic.


Highlands of SW Tanzania, and extreme NE Zambia and N Malawi (Nyika Plateau).

Descriptive notes

15 cm, breeding male (including tail) 35 cm; one male 35·5 g. Male breeding is almost wholly black, with very long tail (mean length 24·7 cm); lesser wing-coverts bright... read more


Song described as a complex series of notes, very high-pitched. Whistling notes and a rattle call... read more


Short, dense grassland in montane areas, often near streams; at 1800–3000 m in Tanzania,... read more

Food and feeding

Diet grass seeds and insects, but no details published. Large flocks reported in non-breeding season.


Breeds May in Tanzania, Jan in Zambia and Oct–Nov in Malawi. Presumed polygynous; male territorial, with aerial flight display. Nest... read more


Presumed resident within breeding range.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted range species: present in Tanzania-Malawi Mountains EBA. Locally common within its very limited distributional range. Occurs in Nyika... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. (2020). Montane Widowbird (Euplectes psammacromius). 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 26 February 2020).