The Shaft Tailed Whydah or Queen Whydah (Vidua regia) is a small, sparrow-like bird in the genus Vidua. They are found in open habitats and grasslands of Southern Africa, from south Angola to south Mozambique.
Geography: Southern Africa
Song / Call: Click to listen to the Shaft-tailed Whydah
Size / Weight: Males / Females 4″ (Males when in breeding plumage up to 10.5″) / 12 – 17 gm
Life Span: Approximately 6 years
Sexing: During the breeding season the male has black crown and upper body plumage, golden breast and four elongated black tail shaft feathers with expanded tips. After the breeding season is over, the male sheds its long tail and grows olive brown female-like plumage. Due to the change in plumage, gender is difficult to determine unless a male is in breeding plumage.
Temperament: Shaft-tailed Whydah forage for seeds by “double-scratching”, kicking sand and leaves away by jumping forward then backward with both legs, uncovering seeds in the dust. These Whydah drink at open water when available. Shaft-tailed Whydah forage alone or in flocks during breeding season and are mainly in flocks during non-breeding season.
Breeding: The Shaft-tailed Whydah is a brood-parasitic, meaning the female lays her eggs in nests of Violet-eared Waxbill and occasionally in those of other estrildid finches. The female eats the eggs of the host.
Diet: Classic Finch Seed, Dried Egg Food, Mineral Grit, Cuttlefish Bone, Millet, Australian Blend Goldenfeast
If there is no gender option listed for a bird on our website, that particular species is ‘monomorphic’, which means we’re unable to determine gender without purchasing DNA testing. DNA testing is an additional $149 per bird to guarantee preferred gender. DNA testing may add an additional 3-6 plus weeks to estimated delivery time to allow for gender results. See our FAQs for more info.