Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Pin-tailed Whydah

Vidua macroura

The Pin-tailed Whydah is a beautiful finch with a stubby bill. The male has distinctive breeding plumage, principally clad in black and white with a bright red bill and long tail plumes. Pin-tailed whydahs are described as hardy, generally gentle birds, but the male can be aggressive and territorial in breeding season.

Range & Habitat

The Pin-tailed Whydah is primarily a resident of Sub-Saharan Africa as well as an extant species of Puerto Rico. It is found in a wide variety of shrubland habitats including agricultural fields, parks, and gardens.  

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Population is stable via inhabiting an extremely large range. The species population is suspected to be stable due to the absence of evidence of any population declines or substantial threats.


Half-ripe seed heads, greens, grass seeds, sprouted seed, insects  

Life Span

5 ½ years

Fun Facts about the Pin-tailed Whydah

  • The Pin-tailed Whydah places its eggs in the nest of a waxbill which raises the baby pin-tailed whydahs along with its own babies. 
  •  Pin-tailed whydahs are an overlooked species in wildlife trading. Small population sizes are popping up in California & other southern states of the US as a result of escaping from captivity. 


Cornell Lab of Ornithology Birds of the World & e-bird, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Life, Finch InformationCenter, “This Beautiful Species Could Be Trouble for Native Birds” By Jason Daley, SMITHSONIANMAG.COM, JUNE 30, 2017 

 BirdLife International. 2018. Vidua macrouraThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: Vidua macroura (Pin-tailed Whydah) ( on 23 July 2021

Updated June 13, 2023
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