Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Southern Red Bishop (Euplectes orix)


French: Euplecte ignicolore German: Oryxweber Spanish: Obispo rojo

Emberiza orix


, 1758,



Has sometimes been regarded as conspecific with E. franciscanus, but such treatment not supported by molecular data. In captivity, male bonded to female E. ardens produced hybrid offspring. Several races have been proposed, e.g. nigrifrons (described from Karema, on E shore of L Tanganyika, in Tanzania) and, in South Africa, turgidus (from Citrusdal, in W Western Cape) and sundevalli (from SE Eastern Cape); species, however, varies clinally in size, with largest birds in SW South Africa, and no populations constantly separable on basis of morphometrics or plumage characteristics. Treated as monotypic.


E & S DRCongo, SW Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, S Kenya, Tanzania, W & S Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia, N & E Botswana, Zimbabwe and C & S Mozambique S to South Africa, Swaziland and lowlands of Lesotho.

Descriptive notes

13 cm; male 21–30 g, female 17–26 g. Short-tailed bishop. Male breeding has black face mask formed by forehead, forecrown, lores, cheek, chin and upper throat (... read more


Song, usually from perch, also in courtship flight or display, a hissing, prolonged sizzle, "... read more


Tall grassland and cultivated areas in open country, usually near water; at 600–1500 m in E... read more

Food and feeding

Diet seeds and arthropods. Most common seeds consumed are those of maize (Zea mays), Eragrostis curvula, Setaria... read more


Season Apr–Jun in Uganda and Kenya, Jan–Apr in Angola and DRCongo, Mar–May in Rwanda, Feb–May in Tanzania, Dec... read more


Mainly resident. Fewer than 1% of ringed individuals recovered more than 100 km from original site... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant; one of the most numerous members of its genus. Less common in E regions of S Africa, where population estimates for... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. (2019). Southern Red Bishop (Euplectes orix). 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 23 January 2019).