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Indigobirds and whydahs
Whydah 2354851969
Vidua interjecta
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Family: Viduidae
Cabanis, 1847
Genus: Vidua
Cuvier, 1816

The indigobirds and whydahs, are a family, Viduidae, of small passerine birds native to Africa.

These are finch-like species which usually have black or indigo predominating in their plumage. The birds named "whydahs"[1] have long or very long tails in the breeding male.

All are brood parasites, which lay their eggs in the nests of estrildid finch species; most indigobirds use fire-finches as hosts, whereas the paradise whydahs chose pytilias.

Unlike the cuckoo, the indigobirds and whydahs do not destroy the host's eggs. Typically, they lay 2–4 eggs in with those already present. The eggs of both the host and the victim are white, although the indigobird's are slightly larger.

Many of the indigo-plumaged species named "indigobirds" are very similar in appearance, with the males difficult to separate in the field, and the young and females near impossible. The best guide is often the estrildid finch with which they are associating, since each indigobird parasitises a different host species. For example, the Village Indigobird is usually found with Red-billed Firefinch and Brown Firefinches.[2]

Indigobirds and whydahs imitate their host's song, which the males learn in the nest. Although females do not sing, they also learn to recognise the song, and chose males with the same song, thus perpetuating the link between each species of indigobird and firefinch.

The nestling indigobirds mimic the unique gape pattern of the fledglings of the host species.

The matching with the host is the driving force behind speciation in this family, but the close genetic and morphological similarities among species suggest that they are of recent origin.

Species

Species hosts

Viduid species Host species Host species
Cuckoo Finch,
Anomalospiza imberbis
Tawny-flanked Prinia,
Prinia subflava[3]
Black-chested Prinia,
Prinia flavicans[3]
Rattling Cisticola,
Cisticola chiniana[3]
Croaking Cisticola,
Cisticola natalensis[3]
Red-faced Cisticola,
Cisticola erythrops[3]
Singing Cisticola,
Cisticola cantans[3]
Levaillant's Cisticola,
Cisticola tinniens[3]
Zitting Cisticola,
Cisticola juncidis[3]
Desert Cisticola,
Cisticola aridulus[3]
Pale-crowned Cisticola,
Cisticola cinnamomeus[3]
Wing-snapping Cisticola,
Cisticola ayresii[3]
Pectoral-patch Cisticola,
Cisticola brunnescens[3]
Cloud Cisticola,
Cisticola textrix[3]
Winding Cisticola,
Cisticola marginatus[3]
Piping Cisticola / Neddicky,
Cisticola fulvicapilla[3]
Steel-blue Whydah,
Vidua hypocherina
Black-faced Waxbill,
Estrilda erythronotos[4]
Pin-tailed Whydah,
Vidua macroura
Common Waxbill,
Estrilda astrild[5]
Crimson-rumped Waxbill,
Estrilda rhodopyga[5]
Orange-cheeked Waxbill,
Estrilda melpoda[5]
Village Indigobird,
Vidua chalybeata
Red-billed Firefinch,
Lagonosticta senegala[2]
Brown Firefinch,
Lagonosticta nitidula[2]
Cameroon Indigobird,
Vidua camerunensis
Brown Twinspot,
Clytospiza monteiri
Dybowski's Twinspot,
Euschistospiza dybowskii
Black-bellied Firefinch,
Lagonosticta rara
African Firefinch,
Lagonosticta rubricata
Zambezi Indigobird,
Vidua codringtoni
Red-throated Twinspot,
Hypargos niveoguttatus
Dusky Indigobird,
Vidua funerea
African Firefinch,
Lagonosticta rubricata
Barka Indigobird,
Vidua larvaticola
Black-faced Firefinch,
Lagonosticta larvata
Jos Plateau Indigobird,
Vidua maryae
Rock Firefinch,
Lagonosticta sanguinodorsalis

Note

  1. ^ The Yellow-mantled Widowbird was the type species of its genus, and was originally named from the city of Ouidah in Benin. Nowadays the name Whydah (i.e. Ouidah) is however applied to the long-tailed species of the Viduidae.
  2. ^ a b c Payne, R. (2016). Village Indigobird (Vidua chalybeata). 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 http://www.hbw.com/node/61224 on 2 March 2016).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o (Subscription required) Payne, R. (2010). Cuckoo Finch (Anomalospiza imberbis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2014). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/61214 on 26 August 2015).
  4. ^ Payne, R. (2016). Steel-blue Whydah (Vidua hypocherina). 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 http://www.hbw.com/node/61216 on 18 February 2016).
  5. ^ a b c Payne, R. (2016). Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura). 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 http://www.hbw.com/node/61215 on 19 February 2016).

References

External links


Sterna diversity This article is part of Project Bird Families, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each bird family, including made-up families.
Eurasian Spoonbill This article is part of Project Bird Genera, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each genus, including made-up genera.
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