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Pin-tailed Whydah

Pin-tailed Whydah
Photo Information
Copyright: Stephen Earle (StephenE) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 19 W: 0 N: 111] (533)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-10-13
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 40 D
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of South Africa 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-10-17 2:24
Viewed: 3521
Points: 16
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I shot this picture at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Pretoria South Africa. I used a 300 f2.8 lens with a 2x converter over a bean bag from my car window.

A seedeater in which the male has a spectacular long tail and handsome black and white plumage. Size 12cm (female) 34cm (breeding male) - smaller in build than Cape Sparrow - but the males have a very long tail. Afrikaans: Koningrooibekkie.

The male is very distinctive, with it's bold black and white plumage and very long tail. The bill is short and conical and is bright red in breeding males and dull red in females. The legs and feet are blackish-grey. The male has a black crown, face, back and long tail feathers pitch black. The lower head, nape, throat and underparts are white, as are the rump and undertail coverts. The central four tail feathers are very long, and slender.

The female has a short tail and is generally brownish in appearance. The head is striped with black and pale brown (buff). The underparts are off-white or buffy, with some brown streaks on the flanks.

This is a common species of gardens, parks farmland and bushveld. The male is much more conspicuous than the female and is often seen perched on telephone wires or fences. It is an aggressive bird and will chase other birds at feeding tables. The male displays in a hovering flight above the female, in which it flicks it's tail up and down and calls continuously.

The call is a rather high-pitched, sustained squeaky sounding si swirt sweeu see sweep swip tsik tseet etc.

The Pin-tailed eats mainly seeds, but also insects.

The Pin-tailed Whydah is a parasitic species, most often laying it's eggs in the nests of the Common Waxbill, but also Bronze Mannikin, Orange-breasted Waxbill and others. It breeds in the summer months, when the host species are breeding.

Courtesy: http://www.birdlife.org.za/fieldguide/

thor68, uleko, pirate, darwin has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

jeez, there are some really nice birds in South Africa! :-) excellent capture of this pretty male with his impressive long tail.
technically perfect and with an interesting note - i did not know that they layed their eggs in other birdsīnests like the european cuckoo does.
superb job & best wishes, thor.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-10-17 3:44]

Hello Stephen,
What a beauty this is and it stands out very nicely against the blue sky. Great sharpness and fine colours and a beautiful composition.
Good note too!
TFS and regards, Ulla

Hi Stephen
very nice bird indeed
compo great; colours great; exposure perfect even on white plumage; catchlight lovely
great result

  • Great 
  • fthsm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 56 N: 512] (3689)
  • [2007-10-17 4:20]

Beautiful species, very good photo.

nice pic, TFS ORI

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-10-17 8:21]

Hello Stephen,
Good that you came so close to this shy birds. Excellent sharpness and colours. The contrast against the blue sky is marvelous. Great eye-contact and composition.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-10-17 14:23]

Hi Stephen,

South Africa is blessed with so many beautiful birds. I have not seen this beauty before. His red, black, and white (my favorite colors) are marvelous. Fine details and a lovely composition.


Hi Stephen
Another lovely image
Outstanding sharpness and detail
tfs jon

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