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The Pin-tailed Whydah,Vidua macroura, is a small resident songbird that occurs in most of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. It is a delightful song bird and the male’s elaborate courtship flight is impressive. The female is gorgeous as well with beautiful brown/black plummage. “Whydah” is the name of a town in Nigeria where these birds are common. Pintail Whydahs are also called “Widow Birds” due to the long tail the male has during the breeding season. During this time It is twice the length of his body and often black. They are often known as the Pintail Widowbird, King’s Whydah, King of Six, Bird of Six, Pied Widowbird.

Geography: The Pintail Whydahs are commonly found in the savannahs and steppes of tropical Africa from Senegal & Sudan south to South Africa.

Song / Call: Click here to hear the beautiful Pintail Whydah song.

Size / Weight: 12–13cm in length although the breeding male’s tail adds another 20cm to this. Pintail Whydahs weigh around 26g.

Sexing: While they are in breeding season, the males and females are too similar to determine gender without DNA testing.

DNA Testing

If there is no gender option listed for a bird on our website, that particular species is ‘monomorphic’, which means we’re unable to determine gender without purchasing DNA testing. DNA testing is an additional $149 per bird to guarantee preferred gender. DNA testing may add an additional 3-6 plus weeks to estimated delivery time to allow for gender results. See our FAQs for more info.

Temperament: Like most finches, Pintail whydahs are very active and need to have room to fly. They are simply enjoyed for their antics and play rather than training. The Pintail Whydahs can be a rather quarrelsome finch and it is best to avoid mixing them with other finches of similar color, and keep only one male with several females. Because they are rather assertive birds, small finches are best not housed with them.

Breeding: Though the Pintail Whydahs are not difficult birds to keep, they are best if kept by themselves or with only a select few other bird types, as they can be rather quarrelsome. Pintail Whydahs are parasitic breeders. This means they lay their eggs in the nests of a waxbill to be incubated and reared. The Common Waxbill, the St. Helena Waxbill, is the only nest they will lay in and that finch is rarely bred in captivity. In order for the male to attract a mate, he must be able to imitate the songs and calls of the foster finch perfectly. Consequently, the Pintail Whydah will have perfected two sets of songs, that of his species and that of the foster species. If he is successful, the female will deposit her eggs in the nest of the waxbill and the hatchlings will grow up with the waxbill babies.

Lifespan: The Pintail Whydahs are known to live up to 16 years.

Diet: Classic Finch Seed, Australian Blend Goldenfeast, greens, Mineral Grit, Cuttlefish Bone

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