Pin-tailed Whydahs, one of the most common forms of Whydah, are found across sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal to Ethiopia and south to southern Africa, where they are common across Zimbabwe, South Africa, patches of Mozambique and northern and eastern Botswana, while more scarce in Namibia. "Whydah" is the name of a town in Nigeria where these birds are common.
They are polygynous brood parasites, with each male assuming a territory centered on a perch, which it uses for calling and displaying. The breeding season varies across their range, but most eggs are laid in August to April. The female lays 2-4 eggs on the nest of other birds. The host incubates the eggs for 11 days and rears the chicks until fledging, which takes place 17-21 days after hatching. The young may remain with the host family for at least another week before joining a whydah flock.
The assumption is that this Pin-tailed Whydah couple was released in the park or escaped from their cage. They were first seen this past spring, and are still residing happily in the park. The male provides a great source of entertainment as he does his mating displays above the female. He flies back and forth above her several times before approaching her.
Pin-tailed whydahs are also called "Widow Birds" due to the long tail the male has during the breeding season. At this time his tail is twice the length of his body and often black. In the wild, when the males are not in their wonderful breeding plumage, they are surprisingly inconspicuous. We are all truly hoping that this little guy, with his awkward flight and attention-getting tail, does not fall prey to a hungry raptor. Keep your fingers crossed!