The weaver bird family

There are 117 living species in the weaver bird family (Ploceidae), excluding the sparrows of genus Passer, see species list here. Read more about the family here.

Latest Weaver Wednesday

Accepted: 12771
(Uploaded: 12771)

Total nests counted: 7943072

Latest weaver reference: PAPER: Lovebirds and weavers

Todays weaver type: (see more here)
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Latest weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [115]: Lufira Masked Weaver

2014-08-27 (559)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday

The Lufira Masked Weaver Ploceus ruweti breeding male has a black head and a strong chestnut wash on the breast and flanks, which distinguishes it from the Lesser Masked Weaver, Southern Masked Weaver, and Katanga Masked Weaver. It is also similar to the Tanganyika Masked Weaver but the black on the head of the Lufira Masked Weaver extends as far as the hind-crown. The female Lufira Masked Weaver is greenish above, dull yellow below and shows two wingbars.

The Lufira Masked Weaver is found at Lake Tshangalele (formerly Lake Lufira) and Kiubo Falls, c. 120 km downstream on the Lufira River, in DRCongo (see map below, based on Birds of Africa and recent information). Lufira Masked Weaver  map

The Lufira Masked Weaver inhabits riverside vegetation, but nests in ambatch and acacia trees, rather than in the reeds.

The diet of the Lufira Masked Weaver is seeds and insects, and the young are fed on insects.

The Lufira Masked Weaver is probably polygynous. Males are territorial and usually have 4-6 nests, but may have 3-20 nests in some sites. The nest is oval, with the entrance below and little or no spout. The nest is woven by the male from strips of material, and suspended from branches above the water. Two colonies were close to nests of the wasp Ropalidia cincta.

One clutch had 2 eggs, very pale green with brown spots, and spots concentrated at the thick end. Nothing else is known about its breeding habits.

There are no PHOWN records for the Lufira Masked Weaver (see PHOWN summary), and many are needed. Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.

PHOWN summary           Previous Wedn: Comoro Fody           Full weaver species list

PAPER: Owl nest on weaver nest

2014-08-25 (558)
de Swardt DH. 2014. Spotted Eagle-Owl nesting on top of Sociable Weaver nest. Ornithological Observations 5:355-356.
phown 7624 phown 7624

Large owls, especially Verreaux's Eagle-Owl, are known to build their nests on top of raptor or weaver nests. General texts list the Spotted Eagle-Owl as nesting on top of Sociable Weaver nests, but there do not seem to be any original records of this. This short note documents an original example, with photos. This record had also been submitted to PHOWN (record 7624).

Literature as featured in Weaver Watch news items

ADU Citizen Scientist Day, Roodepoort, 16 August 2014

2014-08-22 (557)
PHOWN 12113

The ADU Citizen Scientist Day, held at Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, Roodepoort, Johannesburg, was highly successful. Over 100 people attended and were entertained by a programme of talks giving feedback on most of the ADU projects.

Weavers were mentioned in a general overview of the Virtual Museum projects and in a talk specifically about PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests).

It did not take long for a few PHOWN records to appear from the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, taken by attendees on the day, after the talks. To see these, and previously submitted records from the gardens, see here.

More photos on facebook.

Nuthatch (bark-gleaning) weavers

2014-08-21 (556)
Several insectivorous weavers probe and search the bark crevices of trunks and branches of forest trees for concealed insects, insect eggs, and larvae such as caterpillars, and arthropods. The weavers generally crawl upwards on trunks. This foraging behaviour resembles that of the nuthatches (family Sittidae). The weavers are not similar in appearance, only in their feeding habits.

The Yellow-capped Weaver was initially considered to be a nuthatch weaver, but observations show that it feeds in forest foliage. Several malimbes also feed on branches, but usually glean leaves, and only the Red-headed Malimbe climbs up tree trunks. Forest loving weavers that glean from leaves are not included in this grouping.

Bark-gleaning specialists:
Red-headed Malimbe Malimbus rubricollis
Sao Tome Weaver Ploceus sanctithomae
Bar-winged Weaver Ploceus angolensis
Brown-capped Weaver Ploceus insignis
Preuss's Weaver Ploceus preussi
Olive-headed Weaver Ploceus olivaceiceps
Usambara Weaver Ploceus nicolli

Weaver Wednesday [114]: Comoro Fody

2014-08-20 (555)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday

The Comoro Fody, or Red-headed Forest Fody, Foudia eminentissima breeding male has a red head, breast and rump. It is distinguished from the introduced Madagascar Fody by having larger and longer bills, and clearer wing bars.

The Comoro Fody is found on the Comoro Islands (see map below, based on Birds of the Malagasy region). There are 4 subspecies, found on different islands:
F. e. eminentissima on Moheli (Mwali) Island (see red on map).
F. e. consobrina, on Grand Comoro (Njazidja) Island (see yellow on map). This race is smaller and more slender-billed than the nominate, greyer below, and overall more orange than red.
F. e. anjuanensis , on Anjouan (Ndzuani) Island (see green on map). This race is orange on the head and rump, the orange often extending to the belly, and has an orange wash on the mantle.
F. e. algondae , on Mayotte (Maore) Island (see orange on map). This race is smaller than the nominate, and dorsally is greener and plain-coloured.
These races may represent more than one species. The Aldabra Fody is no longer considered a race of this species. Comoro Fody  map

The Comoro Fody inhabits well wooded habitats and forested areas. On Mayotte it is not found in intact stands of evergreen forest. On Grand Comoro, Mohéli and Mayotte it is found close to sea-level.

The diet of the Comoro Fody is mainly insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, and ant pupae. The Comoro Fody also feeds on fruit and spiders.

The Comoro Fody is probably monogamous. It is territorial, and males sing from tree tops in their territories. The nest is globular with a side entrance near the top. There is usually a porch above the entrance. Nests may have a ceiling of moss. The eggs (clutch of 3) are pale blue, with a few fine spots. Possible nest predators include the exotic black rat, lemurs, and raptors.

There are no PHOWN records for the Comoro Fody (see PHOWN summary), and many are needed. Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.

PHOWN summary           Previous Wedn: Katanga Masked Weaver           Full weaver species list
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