A small devout bird is transformed into a sight to behold by a cloak and cap of rich vermillion and a vest of velvety black!

A small dumpy bird is transformed into a sight to behold by a mixture of rich vermilion and velvety black!


The southern red bishop or red bishop (Euplectes orix) breeding male has eclipse plumage, which is plumage that changes color during the breeding season. Breeding males are extremely brightly colored with red to orange upperparts, brownish wings, and an equally brownish tail. His upper chest and under tail coverts are red to orange, with his chest and belly being black. His look is finished off with a red head, and a black mask-like face.

In comparison, females and non-breeding males are nondescript, with short tails, and strong buff-colored eyebrows.

Their rather bland-looking plumage makes them difficult to tell apart from other species of Bishop.

This bird is common in wetlands and grassland in Africa south of the Equator. North of the Equator, it is replaced by the northern red bishop.

During the breeding season, the Southern Red Bishop is found near water among the grass, reeds, sedges, or crops like sugar cane. Outside the breeding season, it will venture into drier grassland and savanna habitats.

The Southern Red Bishop is an omnivorous bird, feeding on seeds and insects.

The southern red bishop is a polygynous species with the male taking more than one female simultaneously and or consecutively, but without assisting with the incubation or rearing of the chicks, then defending his territory against other males. At the start of the breeding season, he will build a number of nests in his territory to attract females and he displays his construction with a conspicuous flight called a bumble bee flight, with his feathers all ruffled up. The nest is oval in shape and woven out of grass, normally built over water. The female will lay two to four eggs within.

This bird is regarded as of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.


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