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Long-tailed Widowbird

Euplectes progne


Spotting #1500 :) The male is black with an almost 2 ft long tail. He has red and white shoulder patches and a gray bill. In this case, sexual selection has outweighed functionality. Females choose males with longer tails, but anytime it is windy, the male is getting thrown around all over the place and I imagine it's quite annoying to try and fly anywhere. Luckily, they only have the long tail feathers during breeding season. This is my favorite bird from South Africa and I tried my hardest to get great pictures of it :)


Very common in high elevation grasslands, they sit on grass or barbed wire fences normally. This guy put on a show for me, just flying back and forth in front of me for about 10 minutes. In a grassland right outside of Memel, South Africa.

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63 Comments (1–25)

outsidegirl0 9 years ago

very cool

mauna Kunzah
mauna Kunzah 10 years ago

I agree with jamiewgoodspeed! :)

jamiewgoodspeed 10 years ago

it looks like a red wing black bird with a really long tail :)

Melodious 10 years ago

What a beautiful progression!

Juan DiTrani
Juan DiTrani 10 years ago

Amazing capture, congratulations!

sunnyjosef 10 years ago

Great series and congrats...

Saumya Wanniarachchi
Saumya Wanniarachchi 10 years ago

Congrats Ashley ! Beautiful series !

Dilan Chathuranga
Dilan Chathuranga 10 years ago

wow!!Great series AshleyT!!!congratulations!!!!

Noel Buensuceso
Noel Buensuceso 10 years ago

Cheers, Ashley!

arlanda 10 years ago


surekha 10 years ago

Congratulations!! Great series and beautiful bird, Ashley!!

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 10 years ago

Congratulations on your 1500th spotting and well-deserved SOTD, Ashley !
Great series - must have been thrilling !! Thanks for sharing.

TylerGraden 10 years ago

Awesome series, and beautiful bird. Congratulations on 1500 spottings! I'm getting ready to hit 200 - I'll join the 1500 club one day.. It might just take another year or two, haha.

Carol Snow Milne
Carol Snow Milne 10 years ago

Congratulations! Fantastic flying series. WOW!

AshleyT 10 years ago

Thanks again Bhagya and Karen! This took some stealth on my part :) We were driving around looking for active burrows in a grassland, and when we stopped to go check out an area with lots of burrows, I saw this guy land in some lower bushes. I snuck as close as I could to him without him seeing me, then when I was about 25m away he either saw or heard me, then just got up and started flying back and forth in front of me and putting on a show :)

Bhagya Herath
Bhagya Herath 10 years ago

Congratulations again for this lovely SOTD Ashley......

KarenSaxton 10 years ago

Congrats on SOTD! Well deserved. I felt lucky to get a shot of one of these guys perched and at a distance!

AshleyT 10 years ago

Thank you so much Yasser, Cody, Reza, Mark, Luis, Shanna, Rieko, Jason, Antonio, Tom, and Adarsha :) Glad to be able to share this beauty with everyone else!

Adarsha B S
Adarsha B S 10 years ago

Love this birdie..Congratulations Ashley!!!

Tom15 10 years ago

Congrats Ashley! As soon as I saw these pictures I knew it would be SOTD.

Ashley my friend,very cool,congrats on another SOTD and thanks for sharing these African beautys

Jason Alexander
Jason Alexander 10 years ago

Congrats! Great timing!!

RiekoS 10 years ago

Congratulations! Wonderful series!

ShannaB 10 years ago

Love this, Ashley!

LuisStevens 10 years ago

Congrats Ashley!

Spotted by

Memel, Free State, South Africa

Spotted on Dec 31, 2013
Submitted on Jan 11, 2014

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