Ornithological Note 454

The Red-headed Quelea in Zimbabwe

Ian C. Riddell April 28, 2017
Country: Zimbabwe
Section(s): Zambezi River, Zimbabwe, distribution, Nyanga, General

Craig (2017), do not include Zimbabwe in the distribution of this species apart from the sentence “Occasional in NE Namibia and N Botswana (Caprivi Strip) and on Zimbabwean side of R Zambezi.”  Zimbabwe is not included on the distribution map (loc. cit.).

The National Museums and Monuments headquarters in Harare have a well-prepared study skin of a male Red-headed Quelea which is the first record for the country, collected by D. Bolar in Nyanga east on 13 February 1973.  The co-ordinates were given as 19°09’S; 33°04’E, but the latitude was corrected to 18°S by Irwin & Rockingham-Gill (2011).  However, there are still problems with the altitude and locality as further corrected by Riddell (2012). 

Hustler & Pollard (1995) recorded small numbers in the Kazungula area adjacent to Botswana in the 1994/95 rains.  In the 1995/96 rainy season Hustler & Voss (1997) recorded birds on the Zambezi River all the way from Kazungula to Victoria Falls.  Flocks of up to 5000 birds were commonplace and large scale breeding occurred.  They also suspect that the Red-headed Quelea may be more regular in that area than records show.


Craig, A. (2017).  Red-headed Quelea (Quelea erythrops).  In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive.  Lynx Edicions, Barcelona

Hustler, K. & Pollard, C. (1995).  First record of Red-headed Quelea for Zimbabwe.  Honeyguide 41(3): 174-175.

Hustler, K. & Voss, N. (1997).  The first breeding record of Red-headed Quelea in Zimbabwe.  Honeyguide 43(1): 38-44.

Irwin, M.P.S. & Rockingham-Gill, D.V. (2011).  The earliest record of Red-headed Quelea in Zimbabwe.  Honeyguide 57(1): 51.

Riddell, I.C. (2012).  The precise locality of the earliest record of the Red-headed Quelea in Zimbabwe.  Honeyguide 58(2): 169-170.

Recommended Citation

Riddell, I. C. (2017). The Red-headed Quelea in Zimbabwe. HBW Alive Ornithological Note 454. In: Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow-on.100454