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Euplectes ardens (Red-collared widowbird, Red-collared widow) 

Rooikeelflap [Afrikaans]; Intakazana, Ujobela [Xhosa]; iNtaka (also applied to Fan-tailed widowbird), uJojo [Zulu]; Molepe, Thaha, Tjobolo [South Sotho]; Muswewadepa [Shona]; Roodkeelwidavink [Dutch]; Euplecte veuve-noire [French]; Schildwida [German]; Viva-de-colar-vermelho [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 ardens (Red-collared widowbird, Red-collared widow) 
Euplectes ardens (Red-collared widowbird, Red-collared widow) 

Red-collared widowbird (yellow-collared morph), Harding, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]

Red-collared widowbird, Cedara Farm, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. [photo Alan Manson ]

For information about this species, see www.birdforum.net/opus/Red-collared_Widowbird

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in patches across sub-Saharan Africa, from Guinea to Ethiopia south to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in the eastern half of South Africa and Zimbabwe extending into Mozambique, favouring savanna, tall grassland, scrub and cultivated land, generally more arid than other widowbird and bishop species.

Distribution of Red-collared widowbird 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

The Red-collared widowbird (in various forms) has been recorded as prey of the following animals

  • Eggs and newly-hatched nestlings
    • rats (Rattus)
    • snakes
  • Fledglings
    • mongooses
    • raptors


It mainly eats grass seeds, supplemented with berries, nectar and insects, doing most of its foraging in large flocks on the ground or in the foliage of plants. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • grass seeds
      • Panicum maximum (Guinea grass)
      • Sorghum (sorghum)
    • nectar
      • Leonotis (wild daggas)
      • Aloe ferox (Bitter aloe)
    • berries
  • Insects


  • Polygynous solitary nester, as successful males may mate with up to about 2-3 females in a breeding season, defending their territory against most other Euplectes species except Long-tailed widowbird and Yellow bishop.
  • The nest is built solely by the male, consisting of an oval-shaped structure with a side entrance, woven using fine grass leaves and stems and lined by the female with grass inflorescences and seed heads. It is typically placed in a shrub, bush or tuft of grass, the leaves of which are often incorporated into the nest roof.
  • Egg-laying season is from October-April, peaking from November-February.
  • It lays 2-6 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 12-15 days.
  • The chicks are fed by the female only, leaving the nest after about 14-17 days.


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.