The long-tailed widowbird (Euplectes progne), also known as the “Sakabula,” is a species of bird in the Ploceidae family. The species are found in Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and southern Zaire. The long-tailed widowbird is a medium-sized bird and one of the most common in the territories it inhabits. Adult breeding males are almost entirely black with orange and white shoulders (epaulets), long, wide tails, and a bluish white bill. Females are rather inconspicuous, their feathers streaked tawny and black with pale patches on the chest, breast and back, narrow tail feathers, and horn-color bills.

When flying, male long-tailed widowbirds are readily visible due to their extremely long tails. Between six and eight of their twelve tail feathers are approximately half a metre (approximately 20 inches) long. The tail during flight display is expanded vertically into a deep, long keel below the male as he flies with slow wingbeats 0.5 to 2 metres (20 to 78 inches) above his territory.

Because of the seemingly large cost to such male ornaments, the long-tailed widowbird has been the subject of extensive research into the function and evolution of sexually selected traits. This research has demonstrated the existence of female choice in sexual selection and indicates the trade-offs between sexual appeal and physical constraints with regard to the evolution of sexual ornaments.
Long-tailed Widowbird
Date Location Count
2020-02-06 09:00Welgevonden Game Reserve1
2020-02-19 17:14Cradle of Humankind WHS1
2020-02-02 12:14Walkhaven Dog Park2
2020-02-02 08:02Rooiwal WTP2
2020-02-23 07:02Rietvlei Nature Reserve14
2020-02-23 06:30Bronkhorstspruit Dam1
2020-02-16 09:12Rustfontein Nature Reserve5
2020-02-15 13:40Marievale Bird Sanctuary--Duiker Hide1
2020-02-16 08:25Marievale Bird Sanctuary1
2020-02-15 07:36Marievale Bird Sanctuary--Hadeda Hide1
2020-02-03Hannah Game Lodge4
2020-02-08 13:47Wonderfontein Pans4
2020-02-25 12:30Golden Gate Highlands NP3
2020-02-19 10:15Wakkerstroom Lark Loop--Second 6 Km
2020-02-20 07:10Wakkerstroom--BirdLife office5
2020-02-20 06:15Wakkerstroom bridge/causeway
2020-02-18 17:20Wakkerstroom Wetlands--Clive Beck Hide2
2020-02-20 14:15Wakkerstroom - Yellow-breasted Pipit Fields (KZN)8
2020-02-16 16:44Highmoor NR1
2020-02-08 15:15Mooi River3