Malawi is home to the Eastern Paradise-Whydah (aka the Long-Tailed Paradise-Whydah), and the Broad-tailed Paradise-Whydah. Either could be pictured on this coin, and the design is probably representative of both species.
A type of Finch, they are quite small (~ 13 cm). However, during the mating season the males triple their length by growing a long tail.
There are several versions of this coin with different obverses and metals, but the same paradise-whydah reverse. The original bronze coin (KM8.1, in the Coin Zoo) was minted from 1971 to 1974. There is a KM8.2 version (1975-1982) that has an accent above the W in Malawi. A copper-clad steel version was minted from 1984 to 1994 (KM8.2a, magnetic). In 1995 only, a new version was minted with a changed bust (KM25), and also in 1995 only a bronze version with the coat of arms on the obverse was minted (this coin). Finally, this coin was minted in copper-clad steel in 2003 (KM34a).
Thanks to Oleg for gifting this coin to the Coin Zoo!
All coin images in Daniel's Coin Zoo are from my personal collection. I collect, research, and personally photograph every coin displayed on this site. PLEASE do not take my images without permission. If you would like to use any coin image you see, just ask me. Thank you.