The other day I filmed this Pin-Tailed Wydah which is a beautiful bird, especially the breeding male when its full tail plumage is present. I haven’t seen the Wydah is my area before, so it was quite a nice surprise to have him in my garden.
Pin-tailed Whydahs are 12-13 cm in length, although the breeding male’s tail adds another 20 cm to this. They weigh around 15-26 g.
The female and non-breeding male have streaky brown and white colours, whereas the breeding male (like the one in the video) has darker colours on his back and has the long tail extension. The male’s bill is always red, whereas the female’s is dark brown.
Unlike Egyptian Geese and Black Collared Barbets, the Wydah is not a monogamous bird. In fact the male will usually have up to six mates in the breeding season. He’ll escort the females constantly, hovering in a circular pattern above them and singing as they feed on the ground.
The breeding male is highly aggressive towards other birds, no matter the size of the other bird. They have been known to drive off doves from a garden bird feeder.
Another thing which makes the Pintailed Wydah different is that they are brood-parasitic, which means they will lay their eggs in the nest of another species of bird (that bird becomes known as the “host”).
The host birds will then sit on the eggs and actually act like foster parents. The host incubates the eggs for 11 days and rears the chicks until fledging, which happens about three weeks after hatching. The young birds will sometimes remain with the host family for another week before joining the Whydah flock.
A very interesting bird and I was very pleased to have caught him on tape in my garden.
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