Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Red-cowled Widowbird (Euplectes laticauda)


French: Euplecte à nuque rouge German: Kapuzenweber Spanish: Obispo encapuchado

Fringilla laticauda

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1823,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with E. ardens, but differs in its shorter tail (effect size for longer-tailed race suahelicus vs ardens 2.92; score 2); red cowl vs all-black crown (3); retention of black tail when non-breeding (2); more streaked breast when non-breeding (1); reportedly higher-altitude occurrence (possibly 1). Molecular data indicate that these two species are long-tailed bishops, not closely allied to other widowbirds. Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. l. laticauda (M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823) – highlands of E South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • E. l. suahelicus (van Someren, 1921) – highlands of Kenya and N Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male c. 25–30 cm, female 12–13 cm; male 21·9–27 g, female 17–23 g. Nominate race male breeding has most of crown to nape deep red, linked to... read more


    Song and calls not known to differ from those of formerly conspecific E. ardens.


    Highland and open grasslands, open bush, combretaceous woodland in Hyparrhenia savannah,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet is presumably similar to that of formerly conspecific E. ardens, but there appear to be no published data. Flocks of 50–100... read more


    Season Aug–Oct in Ethiopia; Apr–Jul and Dec–Jan in Kenya, and Jan–May in Tanzania (Arusha National Park). Polygynous, male typically with... read more


    Local movements in non-breeding season.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common in South Sudan, locally common in Kenya and N Tanzania, and common in Ethiopia, but rare in Eritrea, where confined to... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Red-cowled Widowbird (Euplectes laticauda). 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 25 February 2020).