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Euplectes hordeaceus (Black-winged bishop, Fire-crowned bishop) 

Vuurkopvink [Afrikaans]; Roodvoorhoofdwever [Dutch]; Euplecte monseigneur [French]; Feuerweber, Flammenweber [German]; Cardeal-tecel„o-de-coroa-vermelha [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 hordeaceus (Black-winged bishop, Fire-crowned bishop)  

Black-winged bishop, Gambia. [photo Martin Goodey ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia south through the DRC, Tanzania, Zambia and Angola to southern Africa. Here it is uncommon to locally common in north-central Mozambique and adjacent Zimbabwe, generally preferring moist areas within miombo (Brachystegia) woodland, grassland with scattered bushes and cultivated land, especially rice paddies.

Distribution of Black-winged 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).


It mainly eats grass seeds taken from the ground, although it may occasionally hawk insects from a low perch. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Polygynous and territorial, meaning that each male usually mates with multiple females in one breeding season, usually nesting solitarily but sometimes joining other males to form a loose colony.
  • The male often builds 2-4 nests in a breeding season, which consist of an oval-shaped structure made of woven grass with a large side-top entrance concealed by a hood of grass inflorescences; once the female approves it she adds a lining of fine grass. It is typically placed between upright or grass stems or in coarse vegetation, usually over dry ground.
  • Egg-laying season is from January-April, peaking from February-March.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 12-13 days (recorded in captivity).
  • The chicks are fed by the female only, leaving the nest after about 11-13 days.


Not threatened, in fact it seems to have benefited from agriculture.


  • 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.