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Euplectes afer ladoensis (above)

E. macrourus macrocercus (below)

Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Ploceidae
Genus: Euplectes
Swainson, 1829
Type species
Loxia orix
Linnaeus, 1758

See text

Euplectes is a genus of passerine bird in the weaver family, Ploceidae, that contains the bishops and widowbirds. They are all native to Africa south of the Sahara. It is believed that all birds in the genus are probably polygynous.[1]

The genus Euplectes was introduced by the English naturalist William John Swainson in 1829 with the southern red bishop as the type species.[2][3] The name combines the Ancient Greek eu meaning "fine" or "good" with the Neo-Latin plectes meaning "weaver".[4] When choosing their mates, females within this genus will often choose males with longer tail lengths, even in species with comparatively shorter tail lengths.[5]


The genus contains 18 species.[6]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Euplectes afer Yellow-crowned bishop Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Euplectes diadematus Fire-fronted bishop Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania
Euplectes aureus Golden-backed bishop western Angola and São Tomé Island
Euplectes gierowii Black bishop Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda
Euplectes nigroventris Zanzibar red bishop Kenya, Mozambique, and Tanzania
Euplectes hordeaceus Black-winged red bishop Senegal to Sudan and south to Angola, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Mozambique
Euplectes orix Southern red bishop or red bishop, north to Angola, southern and eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo,northern Zambia southern Uganda north-east Nigeria and south-west Kenya
Euplectes franciscanus Northern red bishop or orange bishop, Africa south of the Sahara Desert and north of the Equator
Euplectes capensis Yellow bishop Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
Euplectes axillaris Fan-tailed widowbird Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, DRC, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Euplectes macroura Yellow-mantled widowbird Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Euplectes hartlaubi Marsh widowbird Angola, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Euplectes psammacromius Montane widowbird northeast Zambia, northern Malawi and the highlands of southwestern Tanzania
Euplectes albonotatus White-winged widowbird Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Euplectes ardens Red-collared widowbird Guinea, inland Sierra Leone, north Liberia, north Ivory Coast, southwest Niger, central and southeast Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, central and northeast Angola, Uganda, West Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, northwest and south Mozambique, Eswatini and east South Africa
Euplectes laticauda Red-cowled widowbird Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and north Tanzania
Euplectes progne Long-tailed widowbird Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, and Zambia
Euplectes jacksoni Jackson's widowbird Kenya and Tanzania


The yellow-crowned bishop and northern red bishop are popular in aviculture.


  1. ^ Craig, Adrian J. F. K. (1980). "Behaviour and evolution in the genus Euplectes". Journal of Ornithology. 121 (2): 144–161. doi:10.1007/BF01642928. S2CID 34686786.
  2. ^ Swainson, William John (1829). Zoological illustrations, or, Original figures and descriptions of new, rare, or interesting animals. 2nd series. Vol. 1. London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy; and W. Wood. Plate 37 text.
  3. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Greenway, James C. Jr, eds. (1962). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 15. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 64.
  4. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  5. ^ Pryke, Sarah; Andersson, Staffan (August 8, 2008). "Female preferences for long tails constrained by species recognition in short-tailed red bishops". Behavioral Ecology. 19 (6): 1116–1121. doi:10.1093/beheco/arn100 – via Oxford Academic.
  6. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (January 2023). "Old World sparrows, snowfinches, weavers". IOC World Bird List Version 13.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 7 February 2023.

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