The white-winged widowbird is 15?19 cm (5.9?7.5 in) in length and about 23 g (0.81 oz) in weight. The male is the only short-tailed widowbird in its region with white on its coverts. The breeding male is distinguished from the yellow-mantled widowbird by its shorter tail, wing color, lack of yellow on its back, and paler bill. Females are pale below.

Habitat and Distribution

The white-winged widowbird is found in Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, S?o Tom?, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Its preferred habitats are savanna, grasslands and wetlands, as well as cultivated land.


This bird mainly eats grass seeds, nectar, and insects.


The white-winged widowbird is polygynous, with one male mating with 3?4 females, and lives in flocks. Oval nests, built solely by the male, are located in the branches of trees or shrubs. Nesting takes place from November to May, peaking from December to March. The female will lay a clutch of two to four white eggs, which she will incubate for 12?14 days. Feeding of chicks is done by the female in the nest for 11?14 days, with chick independence coming 22?25 days later.

Calls and Songs

Its call is `zeh-zeh-zeh` and `witz-witz-witz`.