Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

White-winged Widowbird (Euplectes albonotatus)


French: Euplecte à épaules blanches German: Spiegelweber Spanish: Obispo aliblanco

Vidua albonotata


, 1848,

Durban, South Africa


Hybrids with “red bishop”, probably E. franciscanus, reported in captivity. Race eques appears to interbreed with nominate in S Tanzania, but may be segregated in Burundi and W Tanzania. Proposed race sassii (described from NW shore of L Tanganyika) synonymized with eques. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. a. eques (Hartlaub, 1863) – Central African Republic, SW Sudan, S South Sudan#R, S & E Ethiopia, E DRCongo, W Rwanda, W Burundi, Uganda (mainly W & S) and Kenya S to S Tanzania.
  • E. a. asymmetrurus (Reichenow, 1892) – São Tomé, W Gabon, S Congo, W DRCongo and Angola.
  • E. a. albonotatus (Cassin, 1848) – S Tanzania, SE DRCongo, Zambia, Malawi, NE Namibia (Caprivi Strip), N & E Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and E South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 20–27 g, female 16–24 g. Distinctive widowbird with medium-long tail. Male nominate race breeding has black plumage, except for white bases of primaries,... read more


    Song, both from perch and in flight, a swizzling phrase, "squee-squi-squeeze twirr zem-zem-zem... read more


    Tall bushed grassland in relatively dry country, generally below 2000 m; also rank growth of weeds... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet chiefly seeds of the grasses Brachiaria bizantha, Chloris virgata, Hyparrhenia, Pennisetum, ... read more


    Breeds Sept–Oct in Sudan, Jun in Ethiopia; Feb–Apr in Rwanda and S DRCongo; peak Mar–Jun and recorded also Sept and Dec... read more


    Predominantly resident. Local movements evident; seasonal visitor to Darfur region of Sudan, where... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common in most of range, including São Tomé; uncommon in NW of range. Widespread in agricultural landscapes, as well as in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. (2020). White-winged Widowbird (Euplectes albonotatus). 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 22 February 2020).