Family Whydahs and Indigobirds (Viduidae)

Least Concern

Wilson's Indigobird (Vidua wilsoni)


French: Combassou de Wilson German: Wilsonwitwe Spanish: Viuda de Wilson

Hypochera wilsoni

E. J. O. Hartert

, 1901,

Yelwa, in Borgu, middle Niger River, Nigeria


Formerly considered a race of V. chalybeata; was often treated as conspecific with V. nigeriae, V. larvaticola and V. camerunensis. Has been regarded as a race of V. funerea, but differs from that species in size, plumage and song mimicry. Proposed taxon lorenzi (described from Nigeria) considered a synonym of present species. Monotypic.


S Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, S Mali, Guinea, N Ivory Coast, S Burkina Faso and Ghana E to Nigeria, Cameroon, S Chad, Central African Republic, S South Sudan (Nimule, Rimo, Sheikh Tombe, Torit), NE DRCongo (Uele), and W Ethiopia (Gambela, Gibé#R).

Descriptive notes

10 cm; 11–14 g. Male breeding is black with purple to bluish-purple gloss, concealed white flank spot; upperwing and tail brown, inner three secondaries and their... read more


Song mixed with infrequent imitations of songs and calls of Bar-breasted Firefinch (... read more


Overgrown cultivation, grassland with scattered bushes, tall grass, edges of riverine vegetation... read more

Food and feeding

Small grass seeds, including cultivated fonio (Digitaria exilis). Feeds on seeds scattered on ground, often accompanied by other... read more


Lays in late rains and early dry season; breeds in Jul–Sept in S Ghana, Aug–Sept in N Nigeria and Nov–Jan in SE, and Oct... read more


Apparently resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon in W & C parts of range; little known in E but probably similarly uncommon.

Recommended citation

Payne, R. (2019). Wilson's Indigobird (Vidua wilsoni). 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).