|Breeding males of races E. a.
bocagei and E. a. phoeniceus
The fan-tailed widowbird (Euplectes axillaris), also known as the red-shouldered widowbird, is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae, which is native to grassy and swampy areas of the tropical and subtropical Afrotropics.
It is found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
There are five accepted races:
- E. a. subsp. bocagei (Sharpe, 1871) – West Africa from Mali to CAR and DRC, and southwards to the Caprivi Strip, Okavango and upper Zambezi regions.
- E. a. subsp. phoeniceus (Heuglin, 1862) – East Africa (Sudan to upland Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi)
- E. a. subsp. traversii (Salvadori, 1888) – Ethiopian Highlands
- E. a. subsp. zanzibaricus (Shelley, 1881) – African east coast (Somalia to Tanzania)
- E. a. subsp. axillaris (A.Smith, 1838) – southeastern Africa (lowland Malawi to eastern South Africa)
- BirdLife International (2012). "Euplectes axillaris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- Craig, A. "Fan-tailed Widowbird (Euplectes axillaris)". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
- (Fan-tailed widowbird = ) Red-shouldered widowbird - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds
- Species text on Weaver Watch
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