Definition of quelea in US English:



  • A brownish weaverbird found in Africa, the male of which has either a black face or a red head.

    Genus Quelea, family Ploceidae: three species, in particular the red-billed quelea (Q. quelea), which occurs in huge numbers and is an important pest of crops

    • ‘The ngosha (Quelea quelea) is a small but very numerous granivorous bird that sweeps over the sky in flocks like small clouds and descends on grain fields to feast.’
    • ‘In addition to grain, queleas also feed on insects and, in the dry season, strip the leaves from trees.’
    • ‘However queleas are different because plumage does not signal quality in this species.’
    • ‘The arrival of huge flocks of quelea birds in northern Nigeria, where low rainfall hits crop yields, has raised fears of food shortages in the region of mainly subsistence farmers.’
    • ‘The regular loss of rice and other grain crops to large flocks of quelea led Nigeria's government to begin spraying the area with chemical control agents whose long-term effects on other life forms have not been determined.’


Modern Latin, perhaps from medieval Latin qualea ‘quail’.