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Red Bishop

 (other names: Grenadier weaver, Orange Weaver)

Red Bishop
origin:Northwest and Eastern Africa
life expectancy:7 years
scientific name:Euplectes orix
family:Ploceidae
dimensions:12 to 15 cm
compatibility: very agressivesinging ability: not very melodious
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History [ edit ]

The Red Bishop is native from Africa, the sub-tropical regions, being spotted frequently in a wide range territory, from South of Sahara to South Africa. It inhabits grasslands near water and eats seeds. Due to its large populations and flocks of a million individuals, they are considered a pest by farmers, since they destroy crops by eating the seeds. However, they feed primarily on seeds not cultivated by man.

Red Bishops (Euplectes orix) are weavers, so called because of the way they build their nest. The classification of the Orange Bishop (E. (orix) franciscana) is controversial: by some it is considered a sub-specie of the Red Bishop, but others see it as independent specie. 
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Temperament [ edit ]

The Red Bishop is a very territorial bird that defends it´s nest to the death. Outside the breeding season they are shy birds that usually don´t get into fights.

They have high-pitched vocalizations but they don´t have songs. To attract the female, the male performs a dance and squeaks loudly.   
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Housing [ edit ]

Red Bishops aren’t cage birds. They need space, so is best to keep them in large aviaries or large flights. They appreciate a house with plants, including bamboo. The males need material for building the nest, which they will do even if their not housed with females. They will destroy most of the plants that are put in the aviary either to eat them or to use them as building material. So keep renovating and adding variety.

They are quite hardy birds that don´t need heating or lighting. However, if you region is especially cold you might want to pay more attention to the birds in very cold days.

They will do well with other birds, as long as they have the same size, like Cockatiels. Don´t place them with small finches, like waxbills. During breeding season they are very protective of their nest and surrounding area, so is best to place one male with several females of the same kind. If they feel threaten they may kill the other bird. Fights between two Red Bishop males are common, so don´t let it happen. These finches are polygamous, so for breeding success you might need several females. Red Bishops will also hybridize with other weavers.  
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Diet [ edit ]

The basic diet of Red Bishops is composed by: seed mix, green food and insects. They are especially keen on insects, mealworms, crickets, small grass hoppers, small cockroaches, termites, moths, etc, and they need an extra mount when raising chicks. A good mix should have canary seed, white millet. Eggfood should also be frequently given. Fruits can also be part of their diet, especially apple.

It is possible to color feed this birds in order to intensify the bright colors of the nuptial plumage and extend it for longer periods of time. 
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Description [ edit ]

The Red Bishop is dimorphic during breeding season and monomorphic the rest of the time. In full color, the bill of the males darkens to black, the feathers around the neck and on the tail molt into bright orange to vivid red and the rest of the body feathers acquire a lustrous black. It is said that the wild Red Bishops are redder than in captivity. But this may probably be linked to their diets.

Hens and males out of color have several shades of brown, almost from yellow to black. The bill is pale pink.

In young birds the plumage is paler than adults. 
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Species [ edit ]

  • Orange Bishop – May be considered a sub-specie of Red Bishops (E. orix franciscana) or a specie of their own (E. franciscana). It doesn’t have a black area under the chin when in full colors.
  • Red Bishops (Euplectes orix orix) – Very well known in aviculture, but it isn´t a specie for beginners. It has a black area under the bill during breeding season.
 
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Health [ edit ]

These birds are rarely hill. Deworming is always a concern for any bird, as well for Red Bishops.

The thing most responsible for shortening this bird life expectancy is the enclosure in small spaces. They need roomy flight cages or aviaries.
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