Southern Red Bishop, a feathered artist of nature’s palette, unveils a symphony of crimson hues, gracefully weaving through the reeds, a fiery ballet in the wetlands’ embrace.

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

Meet the Southern Red Bishop

“Southern Red Bishop or Red Bishop (Euplectes orix)” by Derek Keats is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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.

Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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.

“Southern Red Bishop or Red Bishop (Euplectes orix)” by Derek Keats is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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.

Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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.

“Southern Red Bishop (Euplectes orix) male … (52007917204)” by Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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

“File:Euplectes sp.jpg” by JJ Harrison ( licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

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.

“Southern Red Bishop (Euplectes orix) juvenile male …” by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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

“Southern Red Bishop (Euplectes orix) male …” by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

You can watch and listen to this bird right here in the video below:


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