The Indigobirds and Whydahs are part of a bird family known as Viduidae. These small, finch-like birds are found in Africa.
The dominant color of their plumage is either black or indigo, which gives the first group its name. The “Whydahs” were named for the long or very long tails of the breeding males.
These brood parasites lay their eggs into the nest of estrildid finches, without destroying the hosts’ eggs, as many other brood parasites might do. They simply add 2 – 4 eggs to the eggs laid by the hosts. The host eggs and the eggs of the Indigobirds or Whydahs are all white, but the eggs of the latters are slightly larger. The Indigobirds typically use fire finches as hosts, whereas the Paradise Whydahs favor pytilias.
Indigobirds and whydahs also imitate their hosts’ song, which the males learn in the nest. Even though females do not sing, they learn to recognize the song and chose mates with the same song. The nestling indigobirds also mimic the unique gape pattern of the nestlings of the host species.
Genera and Subspecies
- Genus Vidua
- Village Indigobird, Vidua chalybeata
- Jambandu Indigobird, Vidua raricola
- Barka Indigobird, Vidua larvaticola
- Jos Plateau Indigobird, Vidua maryae
- Quailfinch Indigobird, Vidua nigeriae
- Dusky Indigobird or Variable Indigobird, Vidua funerea
- Zambezi Indigobird or Green Indigobird, Vidua codringtoni
- Purple Indigobird or Dusky Indigobird, Vidua purpurascens
- Wilson’s Indigobird or Pale-winged Indigobird, Vidua wilsoni
- Cameroon Indigobird, Vidua camerunensis
- Steel-blue Whydah, Vidua hypocherina
- Straw-tailed Whydah, Vidua fischeri
- Shaft-tailed Whydah, Vidua regia
- Pin-tailed Whydah, Vidua macroura – Found in most of Africa south of the Sahara Desert
- Togo Paradise Whydah, Vidua togoensis
- Exclamatory Paradise Whydah or Long-tailed Paradise Whydah, Vidua interjecta
- Long-tailed Paradise Whydah or Eastern Paradise Whydah, Vidua paradisaea
- Sahel Paradise Whydah or Northern Paradise Whydah, Vidua orientalis
- Broad-tailed Paradise Whydah, Vidua obtusa
- Genus Anamalospiza
- Cuckoo Finch or Parasitic Weaver, Anomalospiza imberbis