The Southern Red Bishop is a grassland bird, closely associated with water. They are also very common in agricultural areas where they can become pests to grain farmers, as their diet consists mainly of seeds and to a much lesser extent insects.
Red Bishops are a gregarious species, foraging in flocks and breeding in colonies, and often associate with other species of weaver and finch at roosting and feeding sites. They breed almost exclusively in reedbeds during the spring and summer. At the onset of the breeding season, males weave up to 13 grass-nests and display continuously to attract as many females as possible, mating with as many as 8 females in a season. Females are solely responsible for the incubation over a two week period of the clutch of 1-5 eggs and raising of the chicks, which leave the nest at about two weeks old. Southern Red Bishops weigh between 18 and 29g.
The Southern Red Bishop is widely, but discontinuously, distributed over much of East, Central and Southern Africa and, being regarded as common to abundant over this wide range is listed as least concern by the IUCN. It is found virtually all over South Africa, being absent only from portions of the arid Northern Cape Province.