The red fody (Foudia madagascariensis), sometimes known as the Madagascar fody, red cardinal fody or common fody, is a small bird native to Madagascar and introduced to various other islands in the Indian Ocean. It is a common bird within its restricted range, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern".
In 1760 the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson included a description of the red fody in his Ornithologie based on a specimen collected in Madagascar. He used the French name Le cardinal de Madagascar and the Latin Cardinalis Madagascariensis. Although Brisson coined Latin names, these do not conform to the binomial system and are not recognised by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. When in 1766 the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus updated his Systema Naturae for the twelfth edition, he added 240 species that had been previously described by Brisson. One of these was the red fody. Linnaeus included a brief description, coined the binomial name Loxia madagascariensis and cited Brisson's work. This species is now placed in the genus Foudia that was introduced by the German naturalist Ludwig Reichenbach in 1850. The type species was subsequently designated as the red fody. The species is monotypic.
The English word "fody" and the name of the genus Foudia are from the Madagascan name for the red fody Foudi or Fodi.
The red fody is about 5 inches (13 cm) in length and weighs 14–19 grams (0.49–0.67 oz). The male of the species is bright red with black markings around each eye. Its wings and tail are olive-brown. Its underparts are also red, which distinguishes it from other fodies in areas where it has been introduced. The female fody's upper parts are olive-brown and its underparts are greyish brown.
Distribution and habitat
It is a common bird found in forest clearings, grasslands and cultivated areas, but not in dense forest. In Madagascar it is regarded as a pest of rice cultivation. It has been introduced to other areas of the Indian Ocean, included the Amirantes, Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius and Réunion.
Outside the breeding season, this bird is gregarious. As the breeding season approaches, males establish territories, about 30 m (100 ft) in diameter. The birds are monogamous, and the male starts building the nest in the centre of the territory before courtship commences, with nests being stered together in loose colonies. The nest is globular with a side entrance and porch or short tube. It is constructed, mostly by the male, out of rootlets, tendrils, grasses and other long strands of vegetation, woven together. The nest takes around eight days to build, and many get abandoned if the male fails to attract a mate.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Foudia madagascariensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
- Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode contenant la division des oiseaux en ordres, sections, genres, especes & leurs variétés (in French and Latin). Volume 3. Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. pp. 112–114, Plate 6 fig 2. The two stars (**) at the start of the section indicates that Brisson based his description on the examination of a specimen.
- Allen, J.A. (1910). "Collation of Brisson's genera of birds with those of Linnaeus". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 28: 317–335.
- Linnaeus, Carl (1766). Systema naturae : per regna tria natura, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Volume 1, Part 1 (12th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 300.
- Reichenbach, Ludwig (1850). Avium Systema Naturale. Das natürliche System der Vögel. Dresden: Expedition der Vollständigsten Naturgeschichte. Plate 79.
- Mayr, Ernst; Greenway, James C. Jr, eds. (1962). Check-list of birds of the world. Volume 15. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 62.
- Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2018). "Old World sparrows, snowfinches, weavers". World Bird List Version 8.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
- Jobling, J.A. (2018). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E., eds. "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- Safford, Roger; Hawkins, Frank (2013). The Birds of Africa: Volume VIII: The Malagasy Region: Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, Mascarenes. A&C Black. pp. 892–896. ISBN 978-0-7136-6532-1.
- Lever, Christopher (2010). Naturalised Birds of the World. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 276. ISBN 978-1-4081-2825-1.
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- Red fody species text on Weaver Watch