Family Whydahs and Indigobirds (Viduidae)

Least Concern

Straw-tailed Whydah (Vidua fischeri)


French: Veuve de Fischer German: Strohwitwe Spanish: Viuda de Fischer

Linura Fischeri


, 1882,

Useguha, east Tanzania


See V. regia. Monotypic.


SE South Sudan (E side of Dongotona Mts, E side of Didinga Mts, Kapoeta and Kenyan border), Ethiopia, Somalia, NE Uganda (rare), Kenya, and Tanzania (dry C plateau from Serengeti and Masai steppe S to Tabora, Morogoro and Iringa region).

Descriptive notes

10–11 cm, breeding male 30–32 cm; 9–17·8 g. Male breeding is distinctive, has forehead and crown yellow, rest of head and entire upperparts black, becoming... read more


Mimics songs and calls of host, Purple Grenadier (Granatina ianthinogaster): (1) loud song... read more


Short-grass plains with patches of open ground in arid and semi-arid dry thorn-scrub and bush... read more

Food and feeding

Small grass seeds, also larval and adult insects, taken from ground. Breeding male forages within his territory; female often feeds with... read more


Males in breeding plumage in Dec and May in Sudan and May–Dec in Somalia; breeding plumage in Apr–Jun and Dec and juveniles in... read more


Resident; no seasonal movements known, but numbers fluctuate wildly at L Baringo, in Kenya.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally fairly common. Population density at L Baringo, in W Kenya, c. 3 singing males/km2.

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). Straw-tailed Whydah (Vidua fischeri). 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 March 2019).