. red shouldered whydah
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- Scientific Name: Euplectes
- Common Name/s: RED
- Sub Species in country / area of origin:
- Origin / Distribution: More
than half of the continent of Africa.
- Habitat In Wild: Diverse.
Mostly savannah/grasslands and reed beds.
- Status In Wild: ?
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
- Age To Sexual Maturity: About
- Adult plumage: attained at about
- Best breeding years (estimate):
24 months - 10th year.
- Lifespan (estimate): approx. 12
or more years
- Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
(Dimorphic in breeding season but otherwise monomorphic)
- Mutations: None
- Availability: Specialist breeders
- Temperament: Require a planted
aviary. Can be aggressive to smaller finches in a mixed
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx.) $1500
- Description Of Adults:
- Length: Cock bird Up to 225 mm (or approx. 9
inches), Hens approx. 160 mm (or about 5.5 inches)
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
photo/s above if available.
- Weight: Cock birds Approx. 21 - 23 gms
(or approx. 2/3 oz) with hens a bit less.
The nuptial plumage cock bird 's tail is about twice the bird's body
length and takes about 3 weeks to grow after the moult.
Level Of Knowledge Required:
Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.
Government Regulations &
By-Laws: Refer to "Government Laws"
Click on "Housing birds"
web page for full details on the housing
of Weavers & Whydahs or read on for specific details for this finch.
These Whydahs are not suitable for
housing in cages. They require a large well planted aviary for best
results. Tall growing grasses and dense shrubs are ideal in the
aviary. With numbers of good breeding pairs fairly low, the owner
should be prepared to allowing only one cock bird pair per aviary with
one or more hens and have no
other species of birds in that aviary. This also removes the risk
of aggression to other smaller finches or to any other weavers or
Diet / Feeding: Click on "Weavers & Whydahs"
web page for full details on the
nutrition of Weavers & Whydahs or read on for specific details for this
Weavers and whydahs are seed eaters that
require significant quantities of live food to raise their young.
Live food is essential at breeding season. A variety of insects gives best results e.g. mealworms, crickets, small
grass hoppers, small cockroaches, termites, moths etc.
Good quality finch mix, seeding grasses
and some fruits (e.g. apple) and some green leafy vegetables can be
offered. Sprouted seed if available.
Basic seed mix should include Canary
seed, White French Millet, Japanese Millet, and Yellow and Red Panicum.
A basic overview only.
- Roosting nest: Yes / No
- Nesting months: Spring
to early autumn. Determined by the time it takes for the cock
bird to achieve a full nuptial plumage.
- Nesting receptacles:
Nests will be built in tall growing grasses or in growing shrubs
close to the ground. Will also use dry brush but rarely use
- Nesting materials:
The cock bird will weave a dome shaped nest in a low shrub, dried
brush or tall growing grass. The nest is made from finely
stripped green grasses and palm fronds. If the hen accepts the
nest she will then line the nest with soft grasses or other soft
materials including feathers.
- Who incubates the eggs:
Hen / cock / both share.
The cock bird nips through part of the
stem then flies away stripping a ribbon of fresh green material for the
construction of the nest. The cock bird may partially build
several nests before the hen approves that nest and shows her approval
and lines the nest.
First year cock birds must have access
to the full range of nest materials as they will practise nest making.
The nest is kept clean by the hen removing the faeces sac of the
young. Parent birds generally reuse the nest
for subsequent clutches. Adequate new nest material must be
available for the birds to refurbish the old nest or build a new nest
for the next clutch.
Egg Colour Green. Clutch/s
per year 2 - 3. Eggs per nest usually 3. Incubation
approx. 12 - 14 days. Fledge approx. 14 days.
Independent approx. another 3 - 4 weeks.
The hen should be allowed to fully mature before being allowed to
breed. This will take about two years. Hens have potentially
about 10 years of breeding ahead of them so allowing them to fully
mature prior to attempting breeding will usually ensure they remain
fitter and healthier and have less breeding problems. Cock birds
generally do not mate till they have fully coloured up.
The younger cock birds take longer to colour up and may start their
breeding season later than older more mature cock birds.
The cock bird does not take part in the
incubation of the eggs or rearing of the young.
A cock bird will pair up with two or
more hens. If one cock bird is paired up with one hen, many people
will remove the cock bird so the hen is not distracted from her job of
rearing the young birds. If the cock bird is paired up with
multiple hens his attentions to the hens is diluted and less likely to
disrupt a particular hen.
They are particularly fond of seeding
grasses while feeding young.
Artificial incubation, hand rearing or fostering will not be
covered on this web site. It is too complex and diverse in nature to be
attempted here. Refer "Specific References" as listed below and
"General References" listings.
Refer "Avian Health Issues"
web page for information and references.
- Worming and parasite control
and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are
considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on
this web site. Refer "Avian Health Issues"
web page option.
- Avian medicine is advancing
at a rapid pace. Keep updating your knowledge and skills.
Refer to references listed on "Book References"
- Australian Aviculture
- A/A Vol 36 No. 3
Mar 1982 Page 62-64
- A/A Vol 6 No 4 Apr 1952 Page 44-46.
- A/A Vol 5 No 12 Dec 1951 Page 140-142.
- Australian Birdkeeper
- ABK Vol 15 Issue 1 .Feb-Mar 2002 Page 43-45.
- ABK Vol 8 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1995 Page 479-481
- ABK Vol 4 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1991 Page 305-308
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