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Euplectes afer (Yellow-crowned bishop, Golden bishop) 

Goudgeelvink [Afrikaans]; Kambara (generic term for weaver and also applied to Yellow-crowned bishop) [Kwangali]; Thaha-pinyane, Thaha-tsehle, Tsehle [South Sotho]; Mantunje, Xikhungumala [Tsonga]; Napoleonwever [Dutch]; Euplecte vorabé [French]; Tahaweber, Napoleonweber [German]; Cardeal-tecelão-amarelo [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Ploceidae > Genus: Euplectes

Euplectes afer (Yellow-crowned bishop, Golden bishop)  Euplectes afer (Yellow-crowned bishop, Golden bishop) 

Yellow-crowned bishop male. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

Yellow-crowned bishop male displaying. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in isolated patches across sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to southern Sudan yet absent from the DRC, south to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in the eastern half of South Africa, with more localised populations in northern Namibia, northern and south-eastern Botswana and Zimbabwe. In the breeding season it mainly occupies marshes or seasonally flooded areas, but when isn't breeding it can move into dry habitats such as cultivated areas.

Distribution of Yellow-crowned bishop in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as prey of Barn owl (Tyto alba), while its chicks are eaten by Yellow-billed egrets (Egretta intermedia


It mainly eats seeds taken from the ground or directly from plants, often joining mixed species foraging flocks along with other widowbirds, bishops and queleas. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • seeds
      • Setaria flabellate (Creeping setaria)
      • Panicum maximum (Guinea grass)
      • maize
    • flowers of Melinis repens (Natal redtop)
  • Insects (recorded in captivity only)


  • Polygynous, colonial breeder, living in small colonies, each with one male who controls about 2-3 nests and multiple females. Males defend their territory and attract females by fluffing out their yellow back feathers and calling, sometimes performing display flights while doing so (see images below).
Euplectes afer (Yellow-crowned bishop, Golden bishop)  Euplectes afer (Yellow-crowned bishop, Golden bishop) 

Yellow-crowned bishop males displaying, Mpumalanga, South Africa. [photo Johan van Rensburg ©]

  • The male builds a ball-shaped nest with a side-top entrance, made of woven grass-strips and, if accepted by the female, she lines the interior with grass seedheads. It is typically suspended between grass stems over water, incorporating the tips of the grass stems into the roof, concealing the entrance.
  • Egg-laying season is from November-May, peaking from December-March.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 12-14 days (recorded in captivity)
  • The chicks are fed by the female only, leaving the nest after approximately 11-13 days and becoming independent roughly 5 weeks later.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.