Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Northern Red Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus)


French: Euplecte franciscain German: Feuerweber Spanish: Obispo anaranjado
Other common names: Orange Bishop

Loxia franciscana


, 1789,

Accra, Ghana


Formerly was sometimes treated as conspecific with E. orix, but this not supported by molecular data. Has hybridized in captivity with E. afer and possibly with E. hordeaceus. Birds in E of range sometimes recognized as race pusillus (described from L Chew Bahir, in S Ethiopia), often having longer tail-coverts covering rectrices completely, less red on breast, and plumage tending towards orange-red, rather than scarlet; plumage and other characters, however, variable throughout species’ range, and naming of geographical races considered unwarranted. Monotypic.


S Mauritania, Senegambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, S Mali, N Sierra Leone, N Liberia, Burkina Faso, N Ivory Coast, Ghana (mainly inland, local on coast), Togo, Benin, SW Niger, Nigeria (primarily N of the great rivers), S Chad, N Cameroon, N Central African Republic, Sudan (especially R Nile and tributaries), South Sudan, W & NE Ethiopia, W Eritrea and NW & S Somalia, S to NE DRCongo, N Uganda and W Kenya (L Baringo and L Bogoria). Introduced (escaped cagebirds) in SW USA (near Los Angeles, in California; breeding reported also Arizona); introduced c. 1960 in West Indies on Puerto Rico, with breeding on Martinique and Guadeloupe, and recorded on Cuba, Jamaica and St Croix (Virgin Is). Reported introduction in Japan of E. orix more likely to be referable to present species.

Descriptive notes

11 cm; 12–22 g. Small, short-tailed bishop. Male breeding has forehead, crown, lores, cheek and ear-coverts black, nape red, mantle and upper back red to red-brown,... read more


Song of thin squeaky notes followed by guttural “zee-zee-zee” buzzes and sizzling... read more


Tall open or bushed grassland, also tall crops and rank margins of cultivated areas, favouring... read more

Food and feeding

Diet primarily small grass seeds, also insects. Seeds of millet favoured, in W Africa also those of guinea-corn (Sorghum bicolor... read more


Season Aug–Nov in Gambia and Senegal, May–Oct in Mali and Ivory Coast, Jul–Sept in Ghana, Jun–Jul in Togo, Jul... read more


Considered resident over much of range, but W of 20° E regular seasonal movements apparent. In... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to abundant over much of its wide range. Regarded as a pest in some regions, and reported as damaging crops in Somalia. Breeds... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. (2020). Northern Red Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus). 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 February 2020).