Astounding Africa: The red bumblebee bird


As with so many bird species only the male Southern Red Bishop Euplectes orix wears the bright red cap and jet-black vest, and then only when trying to convince a female to take up residence in one of his nests. At rest be may look like a senior cleric about to take part in a convocation but in in flight he whirs and bustles about the reedbeds like a large bossy bumble bee.

The genus name means ‘well-woven’, a reference to the tightly woven nests typical of weaver birds, while orix, is from the Greek word for rice, possibly a reference to the bird’s mainly seed diet. In fact, such are the species’ numbers and their predilection for seed crops, that wheat farmers often see them as pests.


Find out more about the Southern Red Bishop



About Author

Peter has a career in publishing and conservation spanning more than four decades. His most recent project has been the development of Untold Africa, a meeting place for intelligent, engrossing and entertaining dialogue for a global community of like-minded people - people who share a common passion for the wild places of Africa, the creatures that inhabit them, and the breadth of African culture. See more

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