The Long-tailed widowbird is a medium-sized African bird, one of the most common in the territories it inhabits. Adult breeding males are almost entirely black with orange and white shoulders (epaulets), long, wide tails, and a bluish-white bill. Females are rather inconspicuous, their feathers streaked tawny and black with pale patches on the chest, breast, and back, narrow tail feathers, and horn-colored bills. Males of this species are known for their distinctly long tails, which contain twelve tail feathers. Of these twelve tail feathers, between six and eight are approximately half a meter (approximately 20 inches) long. Non-breeding males are slightly larger than females and for the most part, they are colored in the same manner as the females, except in that they are more broadly streaked above and below and have wings and wing shoulders with the morphology of the breeding males. The non-breeding males also rarely have elongated brownish-black tail feathers.
Diurnal animals are active during the daytime, with a period of sleeping or other inactivity at night. The timing of activity by an animal depends ...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
Seed predation, often referred to as granivory, is a type of plant-animal interaction in which granivores (seed predators) feed on the seeds of pla...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Altricial animals are those species whose newly hatched or born young are relatively immobile. They lack hair or down, are not able to obtain food ...
Oviparous animals are female animals that lay their eggs, with little or no other embryonic development within the mother. This is the reproductive...
A territory is a sociographical area that which an animal consistently defends against the conspecific competition (or, occasionally, against anima...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
Flocking birds are those that tend to gather to forage or travel collectively. Avian flocks are typically associated with migration. Flocking also ...
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
There are three known isolated populations of Long-tailed widowbirds. The first is found in the Kenyan highlands, the second in Angola, southern Zaire, and Zambia, and the third in southern Africa. Long-tailed widowbirds are generally found in swampy grassland and other open areas with tall grass.
Long-tailed widowbirds are social and during the non-breeding season, they congregate into flocks and often roost in reed beds. They are active during they and do most of their foraging in flocks. The birds feed on the ground and may occasionally hawk insects airily.
Long-tailed widowbirds are polygynous meaning that one male mates with more than one female. Breeding takes place from February to July, reaching its peak in March and April. During this time the males defend territories and each male will have a number of females in its territory. The males fly with their tails drooping and somewhat spread, and with slow regular movements of their wings. Females often mate with the male within whose territories they nest. Females weave nests, shaped in large dome structures with a lining of seedheads, in the high grass within males' territories. The nests are placed 0.5-1 meters (19-40 inches) off the ground in the upper third of the high grass, where the females raise their 2 to 3 chicks. Incubation typically takes about 12-14 days. The chicks fledge 17 days after hatching but remain dependent on their mother for about 2 weeks more.
Long-tailed widowbirds do not face any known threats at present and their population is not considered threatened.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the Long-tailed widowbird total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.