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Shaft-tailed whydah

Shaft-tailed whydah
Photo Information
Copyright: Carl Landsberg (Jakkals) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 187 W: 3 N: 587] (2813)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-12-16
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 7D, Canon EF 600mm f4.0L IS USM
Exposure: f/4, 1/1600 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2013-05-05 12:13
Viewed: 4641
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 50
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hi TN friends. At last it seems to me that I have "a first on TN", the Shaft-tailed Whydah. This time something else than Hyenas and Jackals. A lovely bird well known to me which I captured at a small pool along a dusty road in Etosha.

Enjoy and comments are welcome.

Vidua regia (Shaft-tailed whydah)
Pylstertrooibekkie [Afrikaans]; Harusira (generic term for whydahs) [Kwangali]; Koningswida [Dutch]; Veuve royale [French]; Königswitwe [German]; Viúva-seta [Portuguese]

Distribution and habitat
Near-endemic to southern Africa, occurring from southern Angola and south-western Zambia to Namibia (excluding the Namib Desert), Botswana, Zimbabwe and northern South Africa, while scarce in south-central Mozambique. It generally prefers savanna and dry woodland with rank grass, especially with Acacia trees, also occupying fallow croplands with Sickle-bush (Dichrostachys cinerea) and patches of grass.

Movements and migrations
Nomadic in the non-breeding season, especially in the arid west where water is scarce.

It mainly eats grass seeds, doing most of its foraging on bare ground, scratching the soil to uncover food items. The following food items have been recorded in its diet in captivity:
• Grass seeds
o Eleusine (millet)
o Panicum maximum (Guinea grass)
o Panicum schinzii (Sweet grass)
o Hyparrhenia hirta (Common thatching grass)
o Melitis repens (Natal red top)

• It is a polygynous brood parasite, with each male defending a territory centred on a prominent perch, which is used for calling and displaying. Its primary host is the Violet-eared waxbill, but it occasionally parasitises Black-faced and Blue waxbills.
• Egg-laying season is from December-May.
• It finds its host's nests by following one of the breeding pair or searching suitable habitats for waxbill nests, laying a single egg per day in sets of 3-4, with a few days break in between sets.
• The chick hatch after an incubation period of about 12-13 days and looks very similar to Violet-eared waxbill nestlings. It is often reared in a mixed brood alongside its host's young, leaving the nest after about 16-20 days.

Not threatened.

• Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.

Hotelcalifornia, marius-secan, Miss_Piggy, josediogo1958, Pitoncle, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-05-05 12:15]

Hi Carl,beautiful capture of this bird,not often seen on TN! The pose is really elegant,i like the composition and the very bright colors and details,very well done! Have a nice week and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2013-05-05 12:17]

Hi Carl
What a great shot of this wonderful yellow little bird...Details are very sharp and colours are perfect!!!
Perfect shot!

Hello Mr.Carl,
First time in your gallery attracting by this beautiful bird.
Sometime I can't describe the beauty and press the button to create a green star.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us,
Kind regards,

Ciao Carl, great capture of lovely bird in nice pose on beautiful lighting BG, fine details, splendid sharpness and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Carl,
Another lovely scene with a wonderful bird. The colors are excellent. Very nice composition and POV. Outstanding capture....I like the superb yellow colors and the excellent dept of fied.
Thanks for sharing!

Hello Carl,
Excellent photograph of Shaft-tailed Whydah, excellent sharpness and details, excellent composition, excellent background and lighting.

Thank you Carl for this superbly captured image of Vidua regia.
great colour and sharpness.


  • Great 
  • Cobo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 236 W: 1 N: 535] (5799)
  • [2013-05-05 23:43]

Good picture and a beautiful bird. Congratulation.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2013-05-06 6:48]

Beautiful bird, so colorful..fine pose and well captured. tfs.

Hello Carl,
A perfect shot. The Shaft-tailed whydah is well in focus and stands out nicely from the background.

Hello Carl
A superb photo, excellent pose and good eye contact, good detail and background.
A beautiful bird, good to see
regards yiannis

Amazing bird and impressive photo Carl! Excellent composition, wonderful BG, fantastic colours and very good sharpness.

Hello Carl,
The unusual composition is striking, even in thumbnail, and the colours and pose of the bird are just beautiful. Congratulations with your first on TN. Well done and best wishes.

hallo Carl
a beautyof a bird with great details and beautiful colours
thanks greeting lou

  • Great 
  • Tina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 60 W: 0 N: 132] (1427)
  • [2013-05-07 10:12]

Hello Carl,
That's a wonderful composition ! Lovely vivid colours in a beautiful light ! TFS Tina

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-05-07 16:58]

Hello Carl,
What a gorgeous bird you have captured, and congratulations on a first!! I have to admit except for it's long tail, it somewhat resembles our male American Goldfinch.
Love the attractive pose and it's bright colorful plumage. Excellent eye contact and just the right exposure. Great job!!

Hallo Carl
What a beautiful image with clear details and prominent colours of this Shaft-tailed Whydah against the clear blue sky. The compostion and point of view is just great. The detail you captured in the eye is truly lovely. Congratulations to you being the 1st to share this species here on Trek Nature. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Hello Carl
Fantastic capture.Great pose and composition,wonderful colour combination and clean BG.Excellent sharpness.Thank You
Have a good day!
Best regards

  • Great 
  • waylim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 296 W: 8 N: 489] (1765)
  • [2013-05-08 15:00]

Hi Carl,

Really colorful bird, love the pose, very cute and elegant. Those torns looks really sharp. Excellent details and beautiful color. Good details photo with good composition.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-05-15 12:43]

Hello Carl,
Great photo of this Koningswida. Congratulations for this first on TN. Perfect pose in good sharpness and beautiful colours. Fine composition.

Bonjour Carl,
Agréable valorisation du sujet, dans une belle attitude, sous une excellente profondeur de champ.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Great shot of a fun little bird! I love the bright colours, the faded background and the interesting perch. Well done!

Hello Carl

Congratulations for this first time on TN,
excellent photo of this exotic bird, fine POV
and framing, lovely lateral light shining
the bird's beautiful plumage, its expressive
pose and the contrast of the image it gives
dynamism to the photo, TFS


Hi Carl
What a great picture, and the cherry on the cake being the first on TN
Perfect compo even if the bird is centered, I think together wit the thorns and the direction of viewing it' perfect
Great light and excellent sharpness
Well done Carl

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