Bird Board

Male Pin-tailed Whydah

A male pin-tailed whydah appeared in our yard on September 28 but was originally identified (by me) as a fork-tailed flycatcher. It's been seen several other times over the next two weeks but not up close, but finally my wife got a photo of it and it had a finch-like orange bill, black-and-white body, and extremely long, streaming, black tail. Larry Manfredi has been here 3 times but hasn't seen it yet (it was here again yesterday, 10/14) and it was he who suggested it was a pin-tailed whydah. The photo and sighting by me yesterday has confirmed it. This African bird is a brood parasite, like cowbirds, and could spell trouble if it becomes established. It is already established in Puerto Rico and California, and there is a single other (undated) report from Florida. They are probably escaped cage birds.

Comments

Roger Hammer
6 months ago

I just realized that there are 3 former reports of pin-tailed whydahs in Florida.

Miami-Dade (undated)
Volusia (1994)
Monroe (1996)

Hansel Herrera
6 months ago

There was one reported in South Miami and another in Dania recently. Did not know they are brood parasites, that sucks.

Brian Rapoza
6 months ago

The South Miami whydah was found last month by our own Joe Barros and was photographed the next day by David and Tammy McQuade. David and Tammy's eBird checklist is at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39331557

Roger Hammer
6 months ago

Have there ever been any female whydahs found in Florida?

Brian Rapoza
6 months ago

Yes. A recent example is at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S19524588

Stephen Paez
6 months ago

The male in non-breeding plumage looks like the female. They are nest parasites but unlike some other well known parasite species they do not destroy the eggs of the host nor do the nestlings push the host nestlings out of the nest or cause them to starve. If they are breeding here I am not sure what hosts they could use. Scaly-breasted Munia? In the wild they use Waxbills and the only population of waxbills I have seen are Orange-cheeked Waxbills at Zoo Miami. There was a small population there for a few years but I have not heard that they have been seen recently though some employees say they have heard them this year.

Bob Showler
6 months ago

I saw an adult male at Bill Baggs State Park on September 25, 2016. I reported it on eBird.

Linda Corcetti
6 months ago

A male Pin-tailed Whydah visited my Deerfield Beach yard on September 18 and a couple times after that. I do have some nice photos if you’re interested. I have not posted this on any sites yet.

Brian Rapoza
6 months ago

Linda, I would encourage you to report your whydah sighting on eBird.org and include any photos in your submission. That way, anyone seeking whydah distribution data will have access to your sighting. It's easy (and free!) to register for eBird.

Bill Pranty
6 months ago

Actually, there are DOZENS of reports of Pin-tailed Whydahs in Florida, with 32 verifiable (photographic) records through 2014.

Valeri Ponzo and I published a paper on the status and distribution of whydahs in Florida: Florida Field Naturalist 43(3): 1601-66, 2015.

Bill Pranty
Bayonet Point, Florida

Ann Wiley
5 months ago

There was a female Whydah in my yard several years ago. Got good photos, posted on TAS. FWCC read post, called me, wanted to know lat/long of the bird. Geez - what they spend their time on . . .

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