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

PHOWN:
Accepted: 12565
(Uploaded: 12565)

Total nests counted: 7936866

Latest weaver reference: PAPER: Possible new fody species

Todays weaver type: (see more here)
2 Aug 1900, Pyromelana taha intercedens , Yellow-crowned Bishop

Latest weaver news

All black weavers

2014-08-01 (544)
There are about 6 weaver species that have completely black plumages. In one case, only the female is black (Cassin's Malimbe, not illustrated here). The 2 buffalo weavers are large and are savanna species, while the others are generally forest birds. Several weavers are largely black, but have patches of colour that help identify them, eg Golden-naped Weaver and the widows and bishops.

White-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis albirostris - white bill
Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis niger - red bill
Vieillot's Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus - yellow eye
Maxwell's Black Weaver Ploceus albinucha - whitish eye
Yellow-legged Weaver Ploceus flavipes - yellow legs
Cassin's Malimbe Malimbus cassini - female - dark eye

White-billed Buffalo-Weaver Vieillot's Black Weaver Yellow-legged Weaver

Weaver Wednesday [111]: Yellow-legged Weaver

2014-07-30 (543)

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Yellow-legged Weaver

The Yellow-legged Weaver Ploceus flavipes is black with distinctive dull yellow legs and feet. There is some green gloss on the tips of the feathers of the crown, back and breast giving a slightly scaly effect - these areas are wholly black in Vieillot's Black Weaver and Maxwell's Black Weaver. The belly and undertail-coverts of the Yellow-legged Weaver are dark brown, and the sexes are similar.

The Yellow-legged Weaver is restricted to lowland forest in eastern DR Congo (see map below, based on Birds of Africa). Yellow-legged Weaver map There are no subspecies. The Yellow-legged Weaver is rare, and very poorly known. It has been suggested that it could represent occasional hybrids, but recent DNA work suggests that it is a valid species (presented at the 2012 PAOC).

The Yellow-legged Weaver inhabits the canopy of dense lowland forest. Only 9 specimens are known, the last from 1959; two sight records from Okapi Faunal Reserve (1990 and 1994).

The Yellow-legged Weaver probably feeds on insects, and small caterpillars have been recorded in its diet.

Nothing is known about breeding in the Yellow-legged Weaver.

There are no PHOWN records for the Yellow-legged Weaver (see PHOWN summary). Be the first to submit a record of this species! Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.


PHOWN summary           Previous Wedn: Forest Fody           Full weaver species list

PAPER: Possible new fody species

2014-07-28 (542)
Cheke AS, Rocamora G. 2014. Duchemin's 'Linnet': was there a second species of native fody Foudia sp. in the granitic Seychelles? - with additional evidence for the mid-19th century introduction of F. madagascariensis. Malagasy Nature 8:73-79.

Abstract. The identity of a red-headed passerine observed on Mahe in 1768 by members of the Marion-Dufresne expedition is discussed. Ruling out the presence of Cardinal or Madagascar Fody (Foudia madagascariensis) on historical grounds, we conclude that a second species of endemic fody may well have existed prior to the settlement of humans in Seychelles, and become extinct shortly after, probably due to predation by ship rats (Rattus rattus) that arrived with the human settlers.

Don't add this fody to your life-list - if it existed, it is already extinct! You can download the paper at the above link.


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Weaver Wednesday [110]: Forest Fody

2014-07-23 (541)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday

Forest Fody

The Forest Fody Foudia omissa male has a red head and breast with a white belly. The female is dull coloured, and non-breeding males resemble females. Moulting or immature male Madagascar Fodies may be confused with this species, but the Forest Fody has a heavier bill being deeper and longer than that of the Madagascar Fody.

The Forest Fody occurs in forest in eastern Madagascar (see map below, based on Birds of the Malagasy region). There are no subspecies. The Madagascar Fody is found outside forest, and the Forest Fody occurs in forest, but both species overlap on forest edges (due to forest fragmentation) and hybridisation has been recorded. Forest Fody map

The Forest Fody inhabits intact evergreen forest, from sea-level to 2000 m.

The Forest Fody feeds on seeds, insects and small amounts of nectar. It forages in small flocks of up to 15 individuals, and may join mixed-species flocks.

The Forest Fody is apparently monogamous. Nesting is similar to that of the Madagascar Fody. The nest is globular with a side entrance. The eggs are pale blue, and the clutch is 2-3 eggs. There have been no breeding studies for this species.

There are no PHOWN records for the Forest Fody (see PHOWN summary). Be the first to submit a record of this species! Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.


PHOWN summary           Previous Wedn: Maxwell's Black Weaver           Full weaver species list

PAPER: Nectar feeding in weavers

2014-07-21 (540)
Craig AJFK. 2014. Nectar feeding by weavers (Ploceidae) and their role as pollinators. Ostrich 85(1): 25-30.

Abstract. Reviews of nectar-feeding by birds initially focused on specialist nectarivores and ignored the role that more generalist feeders may play in plant pollination. Recent work has emphasised the range of bird species, both specialist and opportunistic, that feed on nectar. In this review, I collate published information on nectar-feeding by weavers, highlight known weaver–plant relationships, and suggest areas for future research. There are published records of nectar feeding for Plocepasser superciliosus, Amblyospiza albifrons, Anaplectes rubriceps, two Quelea spp., four Euplectes spp., all six Foudia spp., two Malimbus spp. and 22 Ploceus spp. To date, there have been no unambiguous reports of other genera feeding on nectar. The role of Ploceus species as pollinators of Strelitzia reginae, proposed by ornithologists decades ago, has recently been confirmed by botanists. Current studies of Aloe species in South Africa suggest that opportunistic avian nectarivores such as ploceids may be the chief pollinators of bird-pollinated plants in this genus, whereas specialist nectar feeders (sunbirds) may be 'nectar robbers' in many cases. Particularly for winter-flowering plants, weaver species are potential pollinators, but exclusion experiments are needed to establish their role, while the dietary importance of nectar, and its impact on the birds' physiology, has not been critically studied.

Table 1 in this paper lists each weaver species (39 species) that has a published record of nectar feeding, and lists the plant genera concerned. There have been no reports of nectar feeding by the social weavers (Philetairus and Pseudonigrita) or Dinemellia buffalo weavers, and also for most forest species. The first record for a Bubalornis buffalo weaver was published recently, see here. The fodies all feed on nectar, and the Rodrigues Fody has a brush-tipped tongue that is adapted to nectarivory. This paper was first presented at the PAOC in Arusha.


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