Shaft-tailed Whydah ( Vidua regia, family: Viduidae)

shaft tailed whydah kruger national park birds The Shaft-tailed Whydah (Latin name Vidua regia) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 861 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 1074 also a picture of the Shaft-tailed Whydah on page 1072. The Shaft-tailed Whydah belongs to the family of birds classified as Viduidae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Shaft-tailed Whydah is also known by these other names: Shaft-tailed Widow,Queen Whydah.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the Shaft-tailed Whydah was called the

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

Near endemic species is one that is confined to a specific geographical region rather than a single country for example. Certain birds in The Kruger National Park are near endemic to Mozambique, and Zimbabwe for example. One such example is the Shaft-tailed Whydah and this species depends upon a certain type of habitat for survival. Destroy that habitat and the bird becomes endangered.

In terms of distribution of the Shaft-tailed Whydah in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Shaft-tailed Whydah : see above distribution map.

Shaft Tailed Whydah Kruger ParkIdentification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Shaft-tailed Whydah is an extremely small bird about half the size of a house sparrow. The height of the Shaft-tailed Whydah is about 11 cms and its weight is about 15 gms

You will find that the male Shaft-tailed Whydah plumage and colours are different to that of the female Shaft-tailed Whydah

  • Head is blue.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is pink.
  • Throat is yellow.
  • Back is blue, black.
  • Legs are orange.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Shaft-tailed Whydah feeds on the ground mainly


Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Shaft-tailed Whydah takes on more than a single mate (it is bigamous).

The nesting habit of Shaft-tailed Whydah is to use the nest of another bird. The surrogate family then raise the chicks. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 3 to 4

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Shaft-tailed Whydah are: woodlands and grasslands

You can see Shaft-tailed Whydah in flocks. The bird will often also be seen singly.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Pylstertrooibekkie

German ... Knigswitwe

Portuguese ... Viva-seta

French ... Veuve royale

Dutch ... Koningswida

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 861

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,