Yellow Backed Whydah
The Yellow-backed Whydah, also known as the East African Paradise-Whydah, is a small passerine bird belonging to the family Viduidae. It is native to East Africa and is known for its striking plumage and unique breeding behavior.
Here are some interesting facts about the Yellow-backed Whydah:
- The male Yellow-backed Whydah has a bright yellow back, black wings, and a long, black tail with white tips. During the breeding season, it also grows long, flowing, white-tipped black feathers that extend from its tail and make it look like a different species altogether.
- The female has brownish-gray plumage and lacks the elaborate plumage of the male.
- Yellow-backed Whydahs are brood parasites, meaning they lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species, often finches or waxbills, and leave the host birds to incubate and raise their young.
- The chicks of the Yellow-backed Whydah often outcompete the host bird’s chicks for food, and the host parents may end up raising only the parasitic chick.
- Males perform elaborate courtship displays during the breeding season, including fluffing up their white tail feathers and singing.
- The Yellow-backed Whydah feeds primarily on seeds but also eats insects during the breeding season.
- They are found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, savannas, and open woodlands.
- Yellow-backed Whydahs are popular in aviculture and are commonly kept as pets due to their striking appearance and interesting breeding behavior.
While Yellow-backed Whydahs are not considered endangered, habitat loss and fragmentation due to human activities such as agriculture and deforestation are potential threats to their populations.
Scientific Name: Coliuspasser macrourus
Origin: West Africa
This whydah has a beautiful yellow back when in breeding plumage. It is lively, alert, and un-aggressive with birds of similar size and habits.
Size: 20 cm (8 in) in breeding plumage. 14cm (6 in) at other times.
Body: black with some brown edging on wings. Shoulders and mantle: bright yellow during the breeding season. Beak: black. Legs: dark brown. When not breeding the cock molts to resemble the hen.
Slightly smaller and dull brown. The chin and throat bear a yellowish tinge. Stomach: white with brown streaks.
Plain canary seeds, mixed millets, and seeding grasses form the basic diet. Live food and spray millet are appreciated. Green food is consumed occasionally, but not every bird enjoys it. A roomy aviary should be provided with a dry shelter for roosting. This species often tries to roost outdoors so it must be encouraged inside if the weather is damp. Any temperatures are not harmful, but wet weather can cause illness.
This whydah is not a parasitic species but is polygamous. Breeding is encouraged if each cock bird has several hens. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to obtain hens.
The male bird builds the nest himself, using dried grass and small roots. The hen lines the nest with any soft material she can find, including feathers. She continues lining the nest even after the eggs are laid. By the time the young are ready to leave the nest, it is usually very solid.
The cock does not share in incubation and rearing. He can be quite spiteful, often chasing and annoying the hen. Usually, three or four eggs are laid and incubation takes 13 days.
- The female bird of this specie almost looks similar to the female of the Orange Bishop. The female whydah is a little bigger than the Orange Bishop hen.
- The bird is very friendly. It can be easily maintained in a community bird aviary. It can stay with other peaceful bird species in the aviary.
- Though can be kept in society but the bird should be ideally kept with other birds that are of its size.
- The male like almost all cocks of bird species is territorial. Pursues intruders during the breeding season.
- You are recommended to keep the birds in an aviary that has the dimension of 8’ x 8’ x 7’. Keep the floor of the aviary concrete. You may introduce some dry or easy beds on the floor. Branches of conifer trees would make the stay of the bird more convenient than usual. The branches provide the birds with excellent perches, the perfect place to hide whenever they feel like doing so, and provide warmth during the wintertime.
The birds are hardy but you are recommended to make special heating arrangements or cover the aviary with insulated panels to ensure the comfort of the bird.
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