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
Kilombero Weaver

PHOWN:
Accepted: 25362
(Uploaded: 25362)

Total nests counted: 8065925

Latest weaver links:
105 Fan-tailed Widowbird in moult
104 Vieillot's Black Weaver - western race
103 Yellow-crowned Bishop male

Todays weaver type: (see more here)
10 Dec 1880, Sharpia ayresi , Red-headed Weaver

Latest weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [234] - Discovery [117]: Kilombero Weaver

2016-12-07 (756)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Kilombero Weaver Ploceus burnieri

Kilombero Weaver
Kilombero Weaver male & female,
figure from Baker 1990a
(Image from Biodiversity Heritage Library,
Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries)
Kilombero Weaver
Kilombero Weaver nest,
figure from Baker 1990a
(Image from Biodiversity Heritage Library,
Digitized by Smithsonian Libraries)
Kilombero Weaver map
Kilombero Weaver
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Kilombero Weaver was first collected and formally described by NE Baker & EM Baker, ornithologists working in Tanzania.

The Kilombero Weaver was first noticed by Eric Burnier, a Swiss physician and amateur naturalist, who worked at the Ifakara medical research station in Tanzania. The weaver was reasonably common in the area, but Burnier could not identify it, and so he mentioned it to the Bakers. During December 1986 Neil and Elizabeth Baker visited the town of Ifakara in Morogoro Region, east central Tanzania, mainly as a field trip for the Tanzanian Bird Atlas.

At the time of their visit, the weaver was breeding and male birds were easily located along the road to the nearby ferry at Kivukoni. The species was distinctive but could not be identified in the field. Five female and 2 male birds were caught in mist nets. One male and one female specimen were collected as types for a new species.

Subsequent visits to the site were made on 27 February 1987 and 2 April 1988. A further 12 males and 21 females were caught and measured. On 27 February 1987 two specimens were collected at Kivukoni for the University of Dar es Salaam.

The Bakers did not find any mixed species colonies with the Kilombero Weaver, and the closest known breeding weavers were small colonies of Eastern Golden Weavers nesting in bamboo in Ifakara township outside the swamp habitat 7 km away.

The Kilombero Weaver was first illustrated in the type description, by a colour plate of the male and female, and also a line drawing of a nest, and of the bill shapes of similar weavers.

Scientific citation

Ploceus burnieri Baker & Baker (Baker 1990a), Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 110 p52, Ifakara, Morogoro region, Tanzania.

Meaning of names

burnieri, Named after Eric Burnier (fl. 1986) British doctor, field naturalist, and collector in Africa.

First English name

Kilombero Weaver (Baker 1990a).

Alternate names

None.

Collector

NE Baker & EM Baker.

Date collected

28 Dec 1986 and 27 Feb 1987.

Locality collected

Ifakara, Tanzania.

Type specimens

The types are in the British Museum (BM 1989-7-1, BM 1989-7-2) and Dar es Salaam Museum (UDSMB 341, UDSMB 342).

Weaver Wednesday series

2016-12-01 (755)
Weaver Wednesday is a weekly series about weavers. The full info on the topic appears on the Weaver Watch web, with abbreviated versions appearing on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+).

Weaver Wednesday 1 - Biology

Red-headed Weaver male
from the first Weaver Wednesday story

20 June 2012 to 10 Sept 2014

Weaver Wednesday started in June 2012 to describe each weaver species on a weekly basis, focusing on distribution, subspecies, and breeding notes.

The sequence was somewhat random, with one species picked from each genus initially, and then more well known species being covered.

Each news item was illustrated with a distribution map, picture of the species, and where possible an illustration of the nest or colony.

Weaver Wednesday 1 list - list of species covered in series 1. However, these texts are updated under the Species pages so rather go here.

Weaver Wednesday 2 - Discovery

17 Sept 2014 to 28 Dec 2014

Black-winged Bishop male, start of
the 2nd Weaver Wednesday series
The second series covered the history of each weaver species. This included a summary of the discovery and naming of the weaver species, followed by the following headers:
  • Scientific citation - the reference for the original description, with type locality
  • Meaning of scientific name
  • Alternate names
  • Collector
  • Date collected
  • Locality collected
  • Type specimens - where housed, if known.

Each news item was well illustrated, usually including the first published illustration of the species, and a map showing the type locality. Many of the texts provide new information. The sequence of species was chronological, i.e. in the sequence that the weaver species were originally described, starting with the Black-winged Bishop.

As each news item appeared, it was added to the species summary page, together with the Biology news item (the latter was given headers and sometimes updated). Thus the species page is the most up-to-date site to read any Weaver Wednesday text.

Weaver Wednesday 2 list - list of species covered in series 2: click the "Described" option and then the "Sort by" button - the species list will then appear in the order that the species were described.

Weaver Wednesday 3 - coming in 2017

Watch this space!

Weaver Wednesday [233] - Discovery [116]: Lufira Masked Weaver

2016-11-30 (754)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Lufira Masked Weaver Ploceus ruweti

Lufira Masked Weaver
Lufira Masked Weaver male holotype
Lufira Masked Weaver
Lufira Masked Weaver male holotype
Lufira Masked Weaver map
Lufira Masked Weaver
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Lufira Masked Weaver was formally described by Michel Louette, a Belgian ornithologist and author, and by Con W Benson, a British ornithologist. The Lufira Masked Weaver was first collected by Jean-Claude Ruwet, a Belgian zoologist and collector.

Ruwet studied the avifauna of Katanga, DRC, and wrote several papers. Ruwet studied the breeding habits of a weaver that he thought was P. melocephalus in the swamps bordering Lake Lufira (now called Lake Shangalele, or Tshangalele). Ruwet recorded several colonies, including one of more than 20 nests. Ruwet collected one specimen at Kinsamba, near the eastern edge of the maximum level of the lake. This specimen was a male in almost complete breeding plumage, collected in 1960, probably in the month of March.

Verheyen attributed the specimen to the subspecies dimidiatus, while Schouteden 1971a omitted this record from his summary of P. melocephalus specimens. Louette and Benson examined Ruwet's specimen and compared it to other similar species, and realised that it was a new species. These authors note that the Lufira Masked Weaver differs markedly from other similar weavers in bill shape, and they suspected that its nearest relative is P. reichardi.

The Lufira Masked Weaver was first illustrated in the type description, by black and white photos of the type specimen, of a nest, and of a breeding colony.

Scientific citation

Ploceus ruweti Louette 1982a, Bull. Br. Orn. Club 102 p.26, Kinsamba, Lake Lufira, Zaire.

Meaning of names

ruweti, Named after J.C. Ruwet (fl. 1965), a Belgian ornithologist.

First English name

Lufira Masked Weaver (Howard 1984a).

Alternate names

Lake Lufira Weaver, Ruwet's Masked-Weaver.

Collector

JC Ruwet.

Date collected

1960, probably March.

Locality collected

Kinsamba, Lufira area, DRC.

Type specimens

The type is in the Tervuren Museum (MRAC_A.113379).

Weaver Wednesday [232] - Discovery [115]: Gola Malimbe

2016-11-23 (753)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Gola Malimbe Malimbus ballmanni

Gola Malimbe
Gola Malimbe, L-R: male, female, juvenile
figure from Field 1979a
Gola Malimbe
Gola Malimbe holotype,
figure from Bonn Museum
Gola Malimbe map
Gola Malimbe
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Gola Malimbe was formally described by Hans Edmund Wolters, a German ornithologist. The Gola Malimbe was first collected by Dr Peter Ballmann, a German geoscientist.

Ballmann collected a specimen in 1972 in Eremospatha und Diospyros manii forest, and kept the bird in alcohol, not realising at first that he had found a new species.

The previous year, in 1971, G. D. Field noticed a new malimbe species in the Gola Forest of eastern Sierra Leone. After that, Field observed the species several times in primary rainforest, which was suffering from disturbance by logging activities. In 1979 Field published a description of the species without obtaining a specimen, naming it Malimbus golensis after the locality. Two years later Prigogine (1981) pointed out that Field's species was the same species as published by Wolters (1974).

The scientific name Malimbus ballmanni, given by Wolters, was published first and thus takes precedence, the species was kept the English name based on Field's name, i.e. Gola Malimbe.

The Gola Malimbe was first illustrated by Field 1979a as a line drawing of a pair of birds and a juvenile. Colour illustrations first appeared in modern field guides.

Scientific citation

Malimbus ballmanni Wolters 1974a, Bonn. Zool. Beitr. 25 p.283, between Cavally R. and Keibli R., near Taï, Ivory Coast.

Meaning of names

ballmanni, Named after Dr Peter Ballmann 1941-.

First English name

Tai Malimbe (Howard 1984a).

Alternate names

Ballmann's Malimbe, Tai Malimbe.

Collector

Dr Peter Ballmann.

Date collected

1972.

Locality collected

Forest near Tai in Ivory Coast.

Type specimens

The types are in the Bonn Museum (holotype ZFMK-72.799).

Weaver Wednesday [231] - Discovery [114]: Ibadan Malimbe

2016-11-16 (752)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Ibadan Malimbe Malimbus ibadanensis

Ibadan Malimbe
Ibadan Malimbe male (L), female (R),
figure from Elgood 1958a
Ibadan Malimbe
Ibadan Malimbe male,
figure from Mackworth 1973a
Ibadan Malimbe map
Ibadan Malimbe
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Ibadan Malimbe was first collected, and formally described, by John H Elgood, an English Professor of Zoology.

Elgood first observed a pair of this malimbe at the University College, Ibadan, on 18 Dec 1951, and realised that it was different to the known species of malimbes. In 1958 he obtained specimens of this malimbe and was able to describe it as a new species. An adult female was obtained in a garden in Ibadan on 31 Jan 1958 by JH Elgood. An adult male was obtained at University College, Ibadan on 28 Feb 1958 by JH Elgood. Another male was found dead in an Ibadan garden on 15 May 1958 by JH Sutton.

Two of the specimens had vegetable matter in their stomachs, consisting mainly of pieces of Oil-palm fruits. The third specimen also had many insect fragments, especially the wings of alate tailor-ants.

Elgood also described a nest belonging to the Ibadan Malimbe. The nest was of the "inverted sock" type with an entrance tunnel about 30 cm long. It was placed near the top of a Bombax tree, some 20 m above the ground.

The Ibadan Malimbe was first illustrated by Elgood 1958a as a line drawing of a pair of birds. This was followed by a line drawing by Elgood 1964a where the breast band of the female was correctly made wider. The first colour illustration was of a male, by Mackworth 1973a.

Scientific citation

Malimbus ibadanensis Elgood 1958a, Ibis 100 p.622, Ibadan, Eastern Nigeria.

Meaning of names

ibadanensis, Named after the city of Ibadan, Oyo, Nigeria.

First English name

Ibadan Weaver (Button 1964a).

Alternate names

Ibadan Weaver, Elgood's Malimbe.

Collector

JH Elgood.

Date collected

28 Feb 1958.

Locality collected

University College, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Type specimens

The types are in the British Museum (holotype BM 1958.9.2).
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