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Jackson's Widowbird Euplectes jacksoni
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is listed as Near Threatened because it is expected to experience a moderately rapid population decline during the next ten years, owing to the conversion and degradation of its grassland habitat. The species might qualify for a higher threat category if it is found that its population is undergoing at least a rapid population decline.

Taxonomic source(s)
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Distribution and population
Euplectes jacksoni is a resident of the highlands of west and central Kenya and north-east Tanzania. It is locally common over much of its relatively small range, from Eldoret and Nandi east to Laikipia and Mt Kenya, and south to the Aberdares, Loita and Nguruman Hills, north Serengeti National Park, Loliondo and the Crater Highlands (Zimmerman et al. 1996). However, in a survey of the Kinangop Plateau, Kenya, it was recorded in only 14 out of 40 plots (Lens and Bennun 1996).

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as locally common.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

The species inhabits open grassland from 1,500-3,000 m (Lewis and Pomeroy 1989). It also feeds in agricultural land and is found in tall grassland in some areas. It breeds in drier grasslands than Long-tailed Widowbird E. progne, with which its range overlaps (Lewis and Pomeroy 1989). It feeds on grass seeds, particularly those of Themeda triandra and Panicum, as well as termite alates (Fry and Keith 2004). It is polygynous and highly territorial. The species's breeding sites are traditional, and may be used for a number of years. Breeding appears to take place throughout the year. Its nest, in which 2-4 eggs are laid, is a domed ball of woven grass with a side entrance, lined with grass seedheads, situated within 10 cm of the ground in a tuft of grass, with living grass bent down over it to form a bower. The incubation period is 12-13 days, followed by a fledging period of 17 days (Fry and Keith 2004).

This and other restricted-range species of the grasslands of the Kenyan highlands are threatened by destruction and fragmentation of montane grasslands, as a result of intensified agricultural development and livestock production (Lens et al. 1996). Fires, started by pastoralists to control ticks, are common in the dry season (between September and November), and temporarily destroy most suitable habitat (M. Msuha in litt. 1998). Montane grasslands are poorly covered by the protected area system in Kenya (Lens et al. 1996).

Conservation Actions Underway
In Tanzania, virtually all its habitat is protected, for example in the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area (N. Baker in litt. 1999). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to obtain an estimate of the total population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor the conversion and degradation of montane grasslands. In Kenya, increase the area of montane grasslands that are protected.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2010. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 15: Weavers to New World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Fry, C. H.; Keith, S. 2004. The birds of Africa vol. VII. Christopher Helm, London.

Lens, L.; Bennun, L. A. 1996. Status, ecology and conservation of two restricted-range bird species: Macronyx sharpei and Euplectes jacksoni.

Lens, L.; Duchateau, L.; Bennun, L. 1996. How grassland fragmentation and change in land-use affect Sharpe's Longclaw Macronyx sharpei, a Kenyan highland endemic. Ninth Pan-African Ornithological Congress: programme and book of abstracts, pp. 57. Ghana Wildlife Society, Accra.

Lewis, A.; Pomeroy, D. 1989. A bird atlas of Kenya. A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam.

Zimmerman, D. A.; Turner, D. A.; Pearson, D. J. 1996. Birds of Kenya and northern Tanzania. Helm, London.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Evans, M., Khwaja, N., O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Taylor, J.

Baker, N., Msuha, M.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Euplectes jacksoni. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Jackson’s widowbird (Euplectes jacksoni) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Ploceidae (Weavers and allies)
Species name author (Sharpe, 1891)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 108,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change