Project Description

This poor White-winged Widowbird Euplectes albonotatus, was killed by a vehicle on a stretch of road near Beestekraal on the way to Vaalkop Dam on 16 November 2009. I happened to pass by soon after it was killed, so the specimen was still in excellent condition, with minimal damage, and I took the opportunity to make some detailed notes (with my upcoming LBJ book in mind). Specifically looking at things that are simply not possible to see in the field, such as the number of primaries and secondaries, the wing formula, the direction in which the small wing coverts overlap each other, extent of plumage wear, colour of the tongue and many other intricacies. The bird was a male in breeding plumage. Listen to this jewel of a sentence: “Greater coverts surprisingly have black base, with thin white-buff outer edge, but white distal half, extending up on inner web!” Apparently I was very intrigued by this when I wrote it.