Definition of whydah in English:


(also whyda)


  • An African weaverbird, the male of which has a black back and a very long black tail used in display flight.

    • ‘Her daughter, genetically an indigobird, imprinted on her Melba Finch foster parents and then mated with a male paradise whydah mimicking Melba Finch song.’
    • ‘In Africa, for instance, there are birds called widows and whydahs, many of which have tails longer than a foot.’
    • ‘In particular, female indigobirds might prefer males with long tails like those of male paradise whydahs, perhaps because they retain an ancestral sensory bias.’
    • ‘In the first, a female paradise whydah mates with a male indigobird (whether by choice or coercion), then lays an egg in a nest of her usual host, Melba Finch.’
    • ‘This higher-level sequencing convention results in some strange and eye-catching placements, such as the kinglets between bulbuls and leafbirds, or the vireos between whydahs and fringillids.’


Late 18th century (originally widow-bird): alteration by association with Whidah (now Ouidah), a town in Benin.