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[hwid-uh, wid-uh] /ˈʰwɪd ə, ˈwɪd ə/
any of several small African finches of the subfamily Viduinae, the males of which have elongated, drooping tail feathers during the breeding season.
any of several African weaverbirds of the genus Euplectes, the males of which have similar long tails.
Also, whidah.
Also called widow bird.
1775-85; alteration of widow (bird) to make name agree with that of a town in Benin, West Africa, one of its haunts Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for whydah


any of various predominantly black African weaverbirds of the genus Vidua and related genera, the males of which grow very long tail feathers in the breeding season Also called whydah bird, whidah bird, widow bird
Word Origin
C18: after the name of a town in Benin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for whydah


town, southern Benin, West Africa. It lies along the Gulf of Guinea. The town was the main port of the Kingdom of Abomey in the 18th and 19th centuries. Portuguese, French, Dutch, Danish, British, and Americans all vied for a share of the slave and palm-oil trade made available through Ouidah by the efficiently organized and centralized kingdom. In 1893 the area came under French control. Some of the old forts, a cathedral, and a temple of the Abomey traditional religion remain. Coconut, palm, and coffee are grown in the area. Ouidah is connected by road and railway to Cotonou, 20 miles (32 km) east, the major port and commercial centre of Benin. Pop. (2002) 37,647.

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any of several African birds that have long dark tails suggesting a funeral veil. They belong to two subfamilies, Viduinae and Ploceinae, of the family Ploceidae (order Passeriformes). The name is associated with Whydah (Ouidah), a town in Benin where the birds are common.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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