Definition of quelea in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkwēlēə/ /ˈkwiliə/


  • A brownish weaverbird found in Africa, the male of which has either a black face or a red head.

    Genus Quelea, family Ploceidae: three species, in particular the red-billed quelea (Q. quelea), which occurs in huge numbers and is an important pest of crops

    ‘The ngosha (Quelea quelea) is a small but very numerous granivorous bird that sweeps over the sky in flocks like small clouds and descends on grain fields to feast.’
    • ‘The regular loss of rice and other grain crops to large flocks of quelea led Nigeria's government to begin spraying the area with chemical control agents whose long-term effects on other life forms have not been determined.’
    • ‘However queleas are different because plumage does not signal quality in this species.’
    • ‘In addition to grain, queleas also feed on insects and, in the dry season, strip the leaves from trees.’
    • ‘The arrival of huge flocks of quelea birds in northern Nigeria, where low rainfall hits crop yields, has raised fears of food shortages in the region of mainly subsistence farmers.’


Modern Latin, perhaps from medieval Latin qualea ‘quail’.