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Paradise Whydah

 (other names: Widow bird, Eastern Paradise-Whydah)

Paradise Whydah
origin:East Africa
life expectancy:10 years
scientific name:Vidua paradisaea
family:Viduidae
dimensions:13 to 40 cm
compatibility: goodsinging ability: good
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History [ edit ]

Whydahs were first discovered by Portuguese sailors that brought them to Europe from the Widah port of Africa. This group of birds is a brood parasite, since whydahs hide their eggs in other species´ nest, especially finches, leaving them with the tasks of raising the babies.

The Paradise Whydahs takes advantage of the Waxbills´ parenting talents. Because the offspring of the Whydahs are bigger and louder, some of the times, the foster parents feed them in detriment of their own and let these starve to death. Other times Whydahs offspring, due to their size, may push their “adoption brothers” out of the nest.

Paradise Whydahs live throughout Eastern Africa in flocks. They are very gregarious outside breeding season, but when this period approaches they tend to be more aggressive and territorially and split in pairs. However, since they don’t have to look after their offspring, they tend to have multiple partners in each season.

This specie is present in 26 African countries and it is though to be common in it´s natural habitat.
editing: History [ close ]
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Temperament [ edit ]

Paradise Whydahs are active birds that enjoy flying back and forward. In matting season males carry their tails horizontally when flying. Males use their striking plumage to attract females, like peacocks they agitate the tail to seduce the female.

They are gregarious and tend to rest in large flocks in tree branches, which creates a very spectacular visual effect, resembling a fan.

The Paradise Whydahs are boisterous singers and they learn to imitate their hosts’ song, which they learn in the nest.
editing: Temperament [ close ]
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General appearance [ edit ]

Paradise Whydahs are sexually dimorphic birds but this can only be fully understood in matting season. These birds are brownish in color with different shades throughout the boy: the head is black, the chest id deep brown and the belly is creamier. The female has a short tail, as well as the male when it´s not breeding season. During this period, the male changes his plumage: he becomes more brightly colored, with deep and glossy black feathers and a long tail that can be longer than 20 cm. When the matting season is over, he looses his tail only to grow it again the next season. Males and females range 13 cm, but when the cock is in color he can reach 40 cm because of the length of the tail.

Because of the long black tail and darker plumage the Paradise Whydahs are also known as widow bird.
editing: General appearance [ close ]
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Housing [ edit ]

The Paradise Whydahs are hardy birds. They live happier in indoor aviaries with plenty of room. They are sociable birds, especially with finches; however, once the matting season approaches males tend to be more aggressive if there are any female whydahs in the cage. If you’re not planning on breeding the best is to keep a male housed without females. If you want to breed them, then set them apart in pairs during this period. Don´t forget that they don´t breed their own offspring and they need hosts to do it. Because of these special breeding conditions, these birds aren´t advisable for beginner breeders, apart from this they are excellent to have around in an aviary.

Perches are one of the most important aspects for housing this bird. They should be placed high enough so that their long tails don´t get damage by hitting the floor. Don´t be mistaken by their size when their out of color, which means, without their long tails and vivid indigo. Paradise Whydahs are very active birds and males need plenty of room to fly since they can reach 40 cm in matting season. The aviary should allow them to fly without hitting the bars with their tails. 
editing: Housing [ close ]
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Diet [ edit ]

These birds don´t have any special concern, diet wise. Finch seed with greens and millet sprays is quite enough. They like livefood, especially insects, so provide them as a treat. However they don´t need it for nutrition purposes or to raise their chicks, since they leave this job to other species.
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Comments (1)add comment
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23.03
Dogfan22 said:
i like this bird
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