Indigobirds and Whydahs

The Indigobirds and Whydahs are part of a bird family known as Viduidae. These small, finch-like birds are found in Africa.

The dominant color of their plumage is either black or indigo, which gives the first group its name. The “Whydahs” were named for the long or very long tails of the breeding males.

indig

These brood parasites lay their eggs into the nest of estrildid finches, without destroying the hosts’ eggs, as many other brood parasites might do. They simply add 2 – 4 eggs to the eggs laid by the hosts. The host eggs and the eggs of the Indigobirds or Whydahs are all white, but the eggs of the latters are slightly larger. The Indigobirds typically use fire finches as hosts, whereas the Paradise Whydahs favor pytilias.

Indigobirds and whydahs also imitate their hosts’ song, which the males learn in the nest. Even though females do not sing, they learn to recognize the song and chose mates with the same song. The nestling indigobirds also mimic the unique gape pattern of the nestlings of the host species.

Genera and Subspecies

Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds

Beautyofbirds.com's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.