Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Red-collared Widowbird (Euplectes ardens)


French: Euplecte veuve-noire German: Schildweber Spanish: Obispo acollarado

Fringilla ardens


, 1783,

South Africa


Hitherto considered conspecific with E. laticauda. Molecular data indicate that these two species are long-tailed bishops, not closely allied to other widowbirds. Has hybridized in captivity with E. orix, E. hordeaceus, E. macroura and E. axillaris. Males with all-black plumage, occurring through most of range, formerly recognized as race concolor (described from Sierra Leone), but now considered a melanistic morph; also, intermediates between these two morphs recorded in Angola, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Proposed race tropicus (described from Karema, in Tanzania) not recognized. Monotypic.


Senegal (status uncertain), S Mali and Guinea E to Cameroon, Central African Republic, S South Sudan, Uganda, SE Kenya (rare) and C & NE Tanzania S to C & NE Angola, Zambia, Malawi, NW & S Mozambique, Zimbabwe (C plateau), Swaziland, Lesotho lowlands and E South Africa.

Descriptive notes

Male c. 25–30 cm, female 12–13 cm; male 15·6–25·5 g, female 13·1–21·5 g. Male breeding is all black except narrow sickle-... read more


Song a high, sibilant trill, "chisisisisi-chisisisisi-chisisisisi", either sustained or... read more


Varied habitats, frequently away from water, including open or bushed grassland, rank herbs, scrub... read more

Food and feeding

Diet includes seeds of sorghum (Sorghum), Panicum maximum and other grasses, including green seeds; also nectar of ... read more


Season Oct–Nov in Sierra Leone, Sept–Oct in Liberia, Sept–Nov in Nigeria and Cameroon, Apr–May and Jul–Oct in Ethiopia; in DR Congo, Sept–... read more


Local movements in non-breeding season; sex ratio at roosts varies seasonally in S Africa; one... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very wide range, and common in many regions. Population in Kruger National Park, in South Africa, estimated at 2000 individuals; in... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Red-collared Widowbird (Euplectes ardens). 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 19 February 2020).