Quelea erythrops (Red-headed
Rooikopkwelea [Afrikaans]; Roodkopwever [Dutch]; Travailleur à
tête rouge [French]; Rotkopfweber [German]; Quelea-de-cabeça-vermelha
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> Metazoa (animals) >
Deuterostomia > Chordata >
Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates) > Gnathostomata (jawed
vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class:
fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial
vertebrates) > Tetrapoda
(four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota >
Reptilia (reptiles) >
Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria >
(dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) >
Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves
Order: Passeriformes > Family: Ploceidae
> Genus: Quelea
Distribution and habitat
Occurs from West Africa to across much of the DRC and
surrounding countries, with isolated populations from southern Tanzania through
north-eastern Mozambique to southern Africa. Here it is uncommon in the Caprivi
Strip of Namibia and localised patches of Mozambique, extending south to KwaZulu-Natal,
South Africa. It generally prefers grassland near water in southern Africa, but
in other areas of its distribution it also occupies cultivated areas, such as
Distribution of Red-headed quelea in southern Africa,
based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas
Animal Demography unit, University of
Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range
from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).
See here for the latest distribution
from the SABAP2.
Movements and migrations
It is primarily a breeding migrant to southern
Africa, mainly present from about July-November (recorded in East
The following food items have been recorded in its diet:
- Grass seeds
- Polygynous, highly colonial breeder, living in colonies with hundreds to
thousands of nests, sometimes up to about 10 000!
- The nest is built by the male in about 3 days, consisting of an
oval-shaped structure with a side entrance covered by a hood made of tightly
woven green grass blades, typically suspended between reed stems.
- Egg-laying season is from November-March.
- It lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about
12-14 days, but she may leave the nest for long periods.
- The chicks are fed solely by the female, leaving the nest after about
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of
southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book
Fund, Cape Town.