Northern Red Bishop, Euplectes franciscanus
These finch-like birds of the weaver family (Ploceidae) are native to sub-Saharan Africa, and are
popular cage birds worldwide. In California escaped birds have bred for many years in the south,
and have done so recently in small numbers in the Bay Area, where these photos were taken.
Northern Red Bishops aren't yet officially recognized as an established North American wild bird
species, but some day they may be.
As illustrated above, the species shows a markedly different appearance between the sexes in
breeding season, after which the male's striking orange/red and black is replaced by a drab plumage
resembling that of the female.
A frontal view showing the male of the pair in the image above. I found and photographed these birds
in October 2006 alongside Stevens Creek, not far from San Francisco Bay.
Another pair of Northern Red Bishops were noticed in July 2019 in Shoreline Park,
Mountain View, also not far from SF Bay. These photos show the male (the female
didn't show up while I was photographing) near the nest it was building: perched
in the nest area, above; work on the nest, construction, below; and surveying the
surroundings from a cable, further below.
The weaver family, to which the bishops belong, gets its name from the elaborate nests they weave.