Vaalnest Reviews the Southern Red Bishop bird

Posted by Collen on Tue September 8, 2015 in Birding in Vaal Marina.

The southern red bishop is a small passerine bird belonging to the bishop and widowbird genus Euplectes in the weaver family called Ploceidae.

It is common in wetlands and grassland in Africa south of the Equator. North of the Equator, it is replaced by the northern red bishop or orange bishop which was formerly regarded as a subspecies of this species. Here are a few features to look out for when spotting the red bishop:

  • It is 10–11 centimetres long and has a thick conical bill.
  • Breeding males are brightly coloured with red (occasionally orange) and black plumage.
  • The forehead, face and throat are black and the rest of the head is red.
  • The upperparts are red apart from the brown wings and tail.
  • The upper breast and under tail-coverts are red while the lower breast and belly are black.
  • The non-breeding male and female have streaky brown plumage, paler below.
  • Overall females are smaller than the males.

Females and non-breeding males are almost identical to those of the southern red bishop, however it is a fairly gregarious bird, nesting in colonies and foraging in flocks. It feeds on seeds and some insects and it often roosts in mixed flocks with other members of the weaver family.





BirdLife International (2012). "Euplectes orix". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013