Family Whydahs and Indigobirds (Viduidae)

Least Concern

Steel-blue Whydah (Vidua hypocherina)


French: Veuve métallique German: Glanzwitwe Spanish: Viuda metálica

Vidua hypocherina

J. P. Verreaux and J. B. É. Verreaux

, 1856,

coast of West Africa; error = East Africa




S South Sudan (S of 5° N and E of R Nile), NE Uganda, Ethiopia, NW & S Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania (dry C plateau from E Rift Valley S to Tabora, Morogoro, Mikumi and Usangu Flats in Mbeya region, and Iringa).

Descriptive notes

10–11 cm, breeding male 30–31 cm; 11–13 g. Male breeding is glossy blue-black, with small white patch on upper flank (normally concealed by back feathers);... read more


Song a series of short phrases lasting many minutes with little repetition, a long bout of short... read more


Lowland thorn-scrub country and acacia (Acacia) thickets with short grass, to 1360 m.... read more

Food and feeding

Small grass seeds, taken from ground. Nestlings fed with half-ripe seeds and insects. Uncovers seeds scattered on ground surface by rapidly... read more


Lays in May in Sudan, female with oviduct egg in Nov in Ethiopia, and fledglings in Sept in S Somalia; in Kenya, season Jun–Sept at L... read more


Resident; seasonal movements are likely to take place in arid habitats to permit breeding during... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon throughout its range. Estimated global range 570,000 km2. Decidedly uncommon in areas with intensive grazing; around L Baringo, in Kenya,... read more

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). Steel-blue Whydah (Vidua hypocherina). 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 March 2019).