Shaft-tailed Whydah – Vidua regia
When one decides to travel to Namibia and one starts looking at all the accommodation offers, Okonjima Lodge is certain to appear on the wish list. Okonjima is merely 50km from my hometown and though I knew plenty about the lodge and what they did, I’ve never had the opportunity to go there as it is fairly expensive and well, for Namibians, almost inaccessible. When the opportunity finally presented itself, I was ecstatic. Though we saw the cheetah, the leopards and the amazing work the people at Okonjima do, it was the birding that surprised me the most. There were birds everywhere. I think what amazed me the most, was the fact that I saw birds at close range so close to home that I have never seen before. The Shaft-tailed whydah was one of them!
My trusty Roberts Bird Guide has the following to say about them. The Shaft-tailed whydah is a common resident (although I think they prefer the Bushveld above town areas). They have ‘tawny yellow underparts and long narrow, flag-tipped tails’ which is fairly distinctive. I won’t go into the detail of identifying males and females in breeding and non-breeding season – as this tends to get fairly complicated. They won’t tip any scales with a general weight of 14grams!
They are ‘near-endemic and nomadic in the non-breeding season.’ Shaft-tailed Whydahs prefer semi-arid and arid Acacia savannah. They live on seeds and can therefore be very popular garden birds.
Their call: ‘A series of rapid warbling notes, and fluting whistles’. (You have to hear this to understand these descriptions.)
Also known as the Pylstertrooibekkie.