Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Golden Bishop (Euplectes afer) - Maree

“Birds are a miracle because they prove to us there is a finer, simpler state of being which we may strive to attain.” 
- Doug Coupland

W&N watercolour on in my Moleskine Nature Journal

For years I’ve been entertaining and been entertained by the Red Bishop in my garden (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa) and yesterday, for the first time ever, I had nine new visitors – Golden Bishops! My heart fairly bounced when I saw the splashes of golden yellow amongst the red of the Red Bishops at the feeding table – it looked like a colourful table setting for the festive season, mixed with the softer green-yellow of the Weavers. I immediately fetched my Bird Book, just to make sure, and to make notes, which I always do when I find somebody new in my garden.

I did a quick sketch while he was on the reed at my pond and then referenced the colours from one of my bird books. This is the Golden Bishop’s breeding colours and he is difficult to distinguish from the Red Bishop when not breeding, but is generally much paler below, with faint streaking confined to the sides of the breast and the flanks.

This bird is known as the “Goudgeelvink” in Afrikaans and when not breeding, is nomadic in large flocks over grasslands. They prefer to breed in reed beds surrounding dams and near rivers.

It is locally common in the Eastern half of South Africa, with more localised populations in northern Namibia, northern and south-eastern Botswana and Zimbabwe. In the breeding season it mainly occupies marshes or seasonally flooded areas, but when isn’t breeding it can move into dry habitats such as cultivated areas.



  1. Wow! How lucky you are. A beautiful picture too.

    1. thank you Liz! I always get so excited when they show up!

  2. Beautiful birds, Maree! I'm glad to know more about them, and about your part of the world. Love your colors!

    1. Thank you Kate. You won't believe how beautiful they are in real life, absolutely stunning! Every spring they congregate in the shrubs around my pond, fighting over the best breeding spots and I can spend hours there.


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