Orange Bishop

Male Orange Bishop along San Diego Creek in Costa Mesa, California

Male Orange Bishop

Since we recently wrote a post related to the unusual occurrence of a Yellow-crowned Bishop it seemed logical to also address Orange Bishop here too. Orange Bishop is also native to Africa, yet in the case of this species it is already well established and fairly common here in Southern California. This bird is certainly no less striking than the Yellow-crowned Bishop although its behavior is quite different. Fortuitously, Orange Bishop was in the same location along San Diego Creek as the Yellow-crowned Bishop.

Female Orange Bishop along San Diego Creek in Costa Mesa, California

Female Orange Bishop

To see this bird well it is wise to have a scope along. I chose the Kowa TSN-883 spotting scope since it has such a good potential for digiscoping. The Orange Bishop is very conspicuous but it is also wary. Getting close enough to take more than a distant picture can be difficult. Luckily, since the bird is so vibrant in color it is easy to see at far distances as it perches on the top of the reeds along the stream.

Orange Bishop (Euplectes franciscanus) is also known by a variety of common names including: Northern Red Bishop, Franciscan Bishop, Red Bishop, Grenadier Weaver, Orange Bishop Weaver, Orange Weaver, or West Nile Red Bishop. They are native to Africa above the equator and below the Sahara Desert. Here in the US they have long become established in Southern California. More recently populations are being reported from Phoenix, Houston and Florida.

Male Orange Bishop in tall grass along San Diego Creek in Costa Mesa, California

Male Orange Bishop in tall grass.

The mature male Orange Bishop is typically bright orange here in Southern California although can also vary in color to a bright orange red. He is a stocky sparrow size bird with a black face, bill, crown, and waistcoat. His wings are brown to dark gray with white edged feathers. The female is sometimes confused with Grasshopper Sparrow. Immatures, and non-breeding males are similar in appearance to the females.

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