Red fody

Red fody

Foudia madagascariensis

Common name:

Red fody

Scientific name:

Foudia madagascariensis

Alternative common names:


The red fody is a smallpasserinebird. It is commonly found in forest clearings, grasslands, natural savannahs and cultivated areas such as farmlands and rice paddies where it is sometimes regarded as a pest.

Additional Information

Where does this species come from?


What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 3.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Not known.

How does it spread?

It is spread via pet trade.

Why is it a problem?

It competes with indigenous bird species for food and habitat.

What does it look like?

Description: The red fody is about 14cm in length and weighs 14–19 grams. The male is bright red with black markings around each eye. Its wings and tail are olive-brown. The female’s upper body is olive-brown and it’s under body is greyish-brown. In the non-breeding season, males lose their vivid red colouration and resemble females. The slightly hooked beak of males is black, while that of females and juveniles is horn-coloured.

Habitat: Forest clearings, grasslands, cultivated areas, woodland or shrubland and some also occur in man-made habitats.

Breeding: Occurs between late June and early April. Both sexes help to build the nest, which is then lined by the female only. Between 2-4 eggs are laid and incubated by the female, with the male helping to feed the chicks for two weeks after hatching before they fledge and leave the nest to disperse. At the end of the breeding season, the adults undergo a complete moult. Pairs defend the territory all year and do not make a seasonal migration.

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