Family Whydahs and Indigobirds (Viduidae)

Least Concern

Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura)


French: Veuve dominicaine German: Dominikanerwitwe Spanish: Viuda colicinta

Fringilla (macroura

) Pallas

, 1764,

East Indies; error = Angola


Supposedly paler birds in S of range described as race arenosa, which is sometimes recognized#R, but not constantly different in plumage colour from birds in W & E Africa. Treated as monotypic.


Sub-Saharan Africa except in driest regions: S Mauritania S to Liberia, E to Mali and S Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, NE & S Chad (Ennedi Massif and S Ouaddai region), Central African Republic, S Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, and from Gulf of Guinea (islands of Bioko and São Tomé) E to Kenya, C & S Somalia, Tanzania and Zanzibar, and S to Namibia, N & E Botswana and South Africa. Introduced on Puerto Rico, in Caribbean.

Descriptive notes

11–12 cm, breeding male 30–32 cm; 12·2–18·8 g. Small finch with stubby bill, breeding male with long narrow tail feathers. Male breeding has... read more


Song a jerky series of single notes with sibilant quality, “tsip, tsep, tsuc, tyap, tsrrr,... read more


Grassy and open shrubby habitats, marshes, bushed lands, cultivated lands and gardens, old maize (... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly small grass seeds, taken after seeds have fallen to ground; also flying termites (Isoptera). Breeding female eats host eggs (both... read more


Breeds in rains (except in wettest regions), during nesting season of host species: lays Aug–Sept in Senegal, Jul–Sept in Mali... read more


Resident. Small flocks gather at end of breeding season; perhaps seasonal migrant into drier areas... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common or locally common throughout range; e.g. in Kenya widespread in S, absent in arid N except along R Tana and extreme NE &... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura). 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 18 April 2019).