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Eastern Paradise Whydah

Eastern Paradise Whydah
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-08-16
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/80 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-01-24 8:12
Viewed: 11006
Points: 54
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Sitting on a bark on the edge of a camping, suddenly a flock of Eastern Paradise-Whydahs landed just in front of me. Wow, I thought, what a wonderful birds. The first time in my life I saw these strange birds in the wild. I took several photos from them before they disappeared.
What a disillusion when I looked at the photos. None of them was sharp. How was that possible? Okay, I didn’t had a tripod with me, but I almost never use it.
So, for the beauty of the bird, not for the quality of the photo. Just one.

The Eastern Paradise Whydah, Vidua paradisaea is a small brown sparrow-like bird of Eastern Africa, from east Sudan to south Angola. During the breeding season the male molts into breeding plumage that consists of a black head and back, rusty brown breast, bright yellow nape, and buffy white abdomen with broad, elongated black tail feathers up to 36cm long (approximately three times the length of its body). Males and females are almost indistinguishable outside of the breeding season.
It is a brood parasite to the Green-winged Pytilia. Male Eastern Paradise Whydahs imitate the song of the male Green-winged Pytilia. The whydah chicks are larger and louder than the host chicks, so the foster parents will give them more attention instead their own chicks.
Although difficult to breed in captivity because of their brood parasitic nature, these finches, particularly the males, are sold as pets in the United States and other countries. When breeding these birds in captivity, a single male is usually given access to multiple females and each female needs access to multiple active Green-winged Pytilia nests.
Widespread throughout its large range, the Eastern Paradise Whydah is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Argus, jaycee, maurydv, uleko, red45, Dis. Ac., nglen, septimiu_nemes, boreocypriensis, Chiza, ferranjlloret, marhowie, albert, valy67, cicindela, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Gert-Paassen: Wilde dierenPeterZ 2 01-25 01:24
To marhowie: Paradise WhydahPeterZ 1 01-25 01:09
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Critiques [Translate]

hallo Peter
Jamer dat hij net niet scherp is
anders was het een super schot met die kleuren
een vogel die ik nog niet gezien heb
groetjes lou

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  • eliz Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 167 W: 20 N: 271] (1537)
  • [2009-01-24 8:28]

very interesting species. i think they i only 3 picture of this species on TN.

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-01-24 8:30]

Hello Peter,
This is not sharp but nevertheless it is an amazing capture. Your reflexes were quick enough to capture this Eastern Paradise Whydah from a great POV but the light was not strong enough for a higher shutter speed, which I know is frustrating. Having said this the details show up well and it is definitely well worth posting.
Thanks for sharing it and have a good weekend,
Groeten (I was born in Overijssel but left Holland at the age of six months)

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  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2009-01-24 8:47]

Hi Peter,

A not so sharp picture of this amazing bird is a whole lot better than none at all. The wonderful thing is you saw them with your own eyes - not many of us can say that - including me. That is one fantastic looking bird. Colors are beautiful but the tail feathers steal the show. I'm so glad you posted this.


Hi Peter,
a very great capture although the sharp is soft; you have taken this bird from an excellent POV with a very good timing; i like very much this shot.
TFS. Have a good week end.

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-01-24 9:12]

Hello Peter,
You're very lucky to have seen this beautiful bird at close range! There are times when we certainly get too excited and the camera doesn't respond but this is good enough for me!! You show details or the markings and colours and the fantastic tail feathers very well here. It's very nice!
TFS and regards, Ulla

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  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2009-01-24 11:05]

Hi Peter!

I know what you feel - it almost always happened when you met something rare and unexpected. Still not bad picture and of course great trophy. I've never heard of this bird, but it looks just amazing with intense colours and fancy tail. I really like it. For sure better to see slightly unsharp picture of such rare subject than perfect one of common bird. Congratulations for this meeting!

Hallo Peter,
De reden van de onscherpte is mogelijk een combinatie van camera beweging tijdens opname en 't bewegen van de vogel.
Het was al tamelijk laat in Afrikaanse lichttermen. Misschien de ISO naar 800 brengen zo komt je sluitertijd al op 1/160 en een stopje minder in diafragma...1/320. Mits goeie focus heb je dan veel meer kans op een scherper plaatje.
Een prachtige vogel trouwens; heb ik nog niet mogen spotten laat staan platen.
Groeten en goed weekend verder

Hallo Peter,

Deze vogel heb ik ooit nog eens in een voloiere gehouden.
Mooi laag standpunt en prachtige kleuren.
Een hele belevenis al die vogels in het wild te zien!
Heb je ook wilde dieren ed. gefotografeerd?


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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2009-01-24 12:56]

Hi Peter. Always the way when you only get one chance i find i dont get them sharp or OOF. Any way the bird itself was very lucky. I should have loved to have seen them .Fantastic tail feathers. well done TFS.

Hi Peter,What a strange tailed bird:) lovely indeed. i did not see before. You captured this beauty with nice colours and composition.
TFS. Have a nice Sunday MF!


very beautiful bird with wonderful colours ,
you are lucky to see a beauty like this !
nice capture!

What a tail, nice bird, the focus is soft, but who knows the condition you had at that time. Congratulations to share with us.

Best regards


Hola Peter: Una toma extraordinaria de esta ave en acción, es una especie exótica que nunca había visto...saludos.

Stunning bird.

I have seen these in the U.K. in a few aviary collections and they are amazing in breeding plumage. The male and female look very similar when out of colour (I think?)

Very nice bird shame the pic is so soft but I know these are not easy birds to photograph.

Hello Peter,
Interestig capture of this beautiful Eastern Paradise Whydah, good note.
TFS. Greetings. Ferran

Very strange & exotic looking bird Peter.
Great colors & exposure, well worth the post.
I don't know what to say, it's always painful when they don't come out they way you would like.
I would suggest looking closely at your technique, and find ways to improve your positive outcomes.
Try taking a monopod in the field with you. They are very light weight & easy to use/carry. For this image your camera needed support, if you're going to shoot it @ 1/80th with a telephoto lens.

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  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2009-01-24 21:53]

Hello Peter,

You have photographed a very nice bird in its breeding plumage. Even if the image is not sharp it is good to show this bird as plumage pattern and colors can be well seen. The note you have writen is very good.

Thank you for sharing,

Hello Peter,
I understand your frustation, but it seems that the light was not in your favour!
You should have boosted the ISO setting!
But of course afterwards it's easy to say, once you see a so beautifull Paradise Whydah you have only one idea, shoot, shoot, and shoot!!!


It is too bad your camera decided to focus in front of the bird instead of on the bird.... It is one of those situations that we photographers get to experience every so often. I should also add that they are not the most pleasant situations but I guess such is the name of the game. You get some, you miss some....
At any rate, at least you still have a decent shot of a bird that is truly unique. I'd say until next time - I am sure you'll get it sooner or later... TFS.

Best Regards,


Ciao Peter, beautiful bird with splendid long tail and fantastic colors, good details but a little soft of sharpness, well done, ciao Silvio

Hi Peter,
What an amazing specie! I have never seen this bird before, it looks marvelous. 1/80 sec. is a bit slow bird a moving bird but I know that sometimes, conditions are not ideal. I now use flash extender which allows me to take pictures at the good shutter speed even if there is not much light. It definitively changed my way of taking pictures. Thanks,

Hello Peter

Another very interesting and exotic looking bird.
The tail feather is incredible.
Lovely colours and plumage detail.


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  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2009-01-25 23:36]

Ha Peter,

Een mooie opname van een niet zo vaak geziene gast op TN,ik heb ze ook enige malen kunnen aanschouwen (in kruger,maar niet bij laatste visitie),maar mijn fotos van deze vogel waren helaas ook wat minder,niet eenvoudig om deze lengtes totaal on focus te krijgen en ze waren ook aardig beweeglijk wat ik me herinner,groetjes


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  • valy67 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1727 W: 59 N: 3060] (9219)
  • [2009-01-31 12:00]

Hello Peter !
The picture might not be pin sharp, but the bird is so beautiful it was really worth posting it. I love the colors and the huge tail, the feathers are really impressive. It must have been great to watch him in real - I'm jealous ! :-) Very well done !

Hello Peter!
Not too sharp picture but I agree with you - this species is really amazing! Almost black but also... very colourful! This male must be a perfect dancer! :>
Best regards,

Only ever saw these in the air. Odd little birds. You did better than me with the camera with them!

Hello Peter

Probably the subject is not sharp, but it is a beautiful photo
with this exotic bird, with todays DSLRs we can higher
the ISOs up to ISO1600 and get more shutter speed, TFS


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