Whydahs and Indigobirds (Viduidae)

Village Indigobird (Vidua chalybeata) - HBW 15, p. 227

French: Combassou du Sénégal German: Rotfußwitwe Spanish: Viuda Senegalesa
Other common names: Common Indigobird, Indigofinch, Steel-blue/Village Widowfinch, Dull Blue-black Finch, Red-billed Firefinch Indigobird, Senegal Indigofinch/Combassou; Green Indigobird (chalybeata and neumanni); Purple Indigobird(!) (ultramarina); South African Indigobird (okavangoensis, centralis and amauropteryx); Zaire Indigobird (centralis)

Taxonomy: Fringilla chalybeata Statius Müller, 1776, Brazil; error = Senegal.
Formerly considered conspecific with V. wilsoni, V. nigeriae, V. camerunensis, V. funerea, V. purpurascens and V. codringtoni. These species differ, however, in breeding plumage of male, in bill and leg colours and, usually, in song, and in some cases also in nestling mouth pattern and colours; up to four species occur sympatrically, with no morphological evidence of interbreeding. Present species interbreeds with V. funerea in E DRCongo and with V. purpurascens in Tanzania. Races sometimes thought to form three groups, W & NC group .. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Fringilla chalybeata Statius Müller, 1776, Brazil; error = Senegal.
Formerly considered conspecific with V. wilsoni, V. nigeriae, V. camerunensis, V. funerea, V. purpurascens and V. codringtoni. These species differ, however, in breeding plumage of male, in bill and leg colours and, usually, in song, and in some cases also in nestling mouth pattern and colours; up to four species occur sympatrically, with no morphological evidence of interbreeding. Present species interbreeds with V. funerea in E DRCongo and with V. purpurascens in Tanzania. Races sometimes thought to form three groups, W & NC group (nominate and neumanni), NE group (ultramarina), and C & S group (okavangoensis, centralis and amauropteryx), possibly representing three separate species. Race amauropteryx has in the past been treated as a distinct species, having a red bill, but in SW Zambia, NW Zimbabwe and N Botswana red-billed and white-billed individuals occur together in mixed populations having same songs and competing for same call-sites and breeding females. Races neumanni and centralis intergrade in NE Africa. Green-glossed birds in Senegal sometimes separated as race aenea, but occur together with blue and greenish-blue birds; proposed taxon incognita (from SE DRCongo) is regarded as a synonym of centralis. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • chalybeata ( Statius Müller, 1776) - S Mauritania and Senegambia E to C Mali (Mopti), S to N Sierra Leone and Guinea.
  • neumanni ( Alexander, 1908) - E Mali and N Ivory Coast E to S Chad, N Central African Republic and Sudan.
  • ultramarina ( J. F. Gmelin, 1789) - Ethiopia and N Eritrea.

     See all 6 subspecies
  • chalybeata ( Statius Müller, 1776) - S Mauritania and Senegambia E to C Mali (Mopti), S to N Sierra Leone and Guinea.
  • neumanni ( Alexander, 1908) - E Mali and N Ivory Coast E to S Chad, N Central African Republic and Sudan.
  • ultramarina ( J. F. Gmelin, 1789) - Ethiopia and N Eritrea.
  • centralis ( Neunzig, 1928) - S & E DRCongo (Kasai, Katanga, and around lakes Albert, Edward, Kivu and Tanganyika) E to Uganda, inland Kenya and inland Tanzania.
  • okavangoensis Payne, 1973 - W & S Angola, N Namibia, W Zambia (upper R Zambezi) and N Botswana.
  • amauropteryx ( Sharpe, 1890) - coastal E Africa from S Somalia S to S Tanzania, Mozambique, and inland from S & E Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe (R Zambezi below Kazungula) S to N South Africa (S to North West Province, Free State, and N KwaZulu-Natal at Ndumu and Hluhluwe; also S Eastern Cape and Swaziland.