Yellow bishop

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Yellow bishop
Yellow Bishop - Kenya S4E8557 (22662474520).jpg
Male at Aberdare Range, Kenya
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Ploceidae
Genus: Euplectes
Species: E. capensi
Binomial name
Euplectes capensis
(Linnaeus, 1766)

The yellow bishop, Cape bishop, Cape widow[2] or yellow-rumped widow (Euplectes capensis) is a resident breeding bird species in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.[1]

This common weaver occurs in less arid vegetated areas, such as fynbos, moist grassland and bracken-covered valleys at altitudes from sea level to the Ethiopian highlands.


Non-breeding Male in Debre Berhan, Ethiopia.
Juveniles in Debre Berhan, Ethiopia.

The yellow bishop is a stocky 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long bird. The breeding male is black apart from his bright yellow lower back, rump, and shoulder patches, and brown edging to the wing feathers. He has a short crest, thick conical black bill, and a relatively short tail. His bill size varies dramatically between races.[3]

In non-breeding plumage, the black plumage is replaced by heavily streaked buffy-brown, and the bill is pale. The yellow shoulders and rump remain, and are a distinction from the female which lacks the contrasting colour patches. The juveniles and females are notoriously difficult to identify in the field, appearing identical to the juveniles and females of several other bishops and widowbirds as well as some seadeaters.

In the breeding season they are usually solitary or in pairs, but the non-breeding yellow bishop is gregarious, often forming flocks with other 'mixed euplectes'.

They feed on seed, grain and some insects.


Calls include zeet zeet zeet, and a harsh zzzzzzt given by the male in flight. The song of the isolated SW Cameroon phoenicomerus is quite different: a dry rattle followed by 'swit-err, swit-err'.[3]


Cited texts[edit]

  • Sinclair, Ian; Ryan, Peter (2003). Birds of Africa south of the Sahara. Cape Town: Struik. 
  • Sinclair, Ian; Hockey, Phil; Tarboton, Warwick (2002). SASOL Birds of Southern Africa. Struik. ISBN 1-86872-721-1. 
  • Stevenson, Terry; Fanshaw, John (2002). A Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa. 

External links[edit]