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
Slender-billed Weaver

PHOWN:
Accepted: 19793
(Uploaded: 19802)

Total nests counted: 8012889

Latest weaver links:
36 Slender-billed Weaver male at flowers
35 Discovery of the Slender-billed Weaver Ploceus pelzelni
34 Sociable Weaver nests on pylon

Todays weaver type: (see more here)
29 Apr 1906, Hyphantornis feminina , Village Weaver

Latest weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [202] - Discovery [85]: Slender-billed Weaver

2016-04-27 (715)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Slender-billed Weaver Ploceus pelzelni

Slender-billed Weaver
Slender-billed Weaver female & juv
male, figure from Hartlaub (1887)
Slender-billed Weaver
Slender-billed Weaver male,
figure from Sharpe (1890)
Pasha
Emin Pasha, collector of the
Slender-billed Weaver, from wikipedia
Slender-billed Weaver map
Slender-billed Weaver
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Slender-billed Weaver was formally described by Karel Johan Gustav Hartlaub, a German physician and ornithologist.

The Slender-billed Weaver was collected by Emin Pasha, an Ottoman-German physician, naturalist, and governor.

After 1876, Emin made Lado his base for collecting expeditions throughout the region, and here he collected his weaver type, the Cardinal Quelea.

In November 1879 Pasha sailed south on a steamer called "Khedive" on the Nile to lake Albert. He devoted his stay at Magungo as far as possible to collecting specimens (including birds, snakes and insects), although he had little ammunition and spirit for preserving specimens. In a letter, Pasha noted that he had found 5 species of weavers in the area, but he only listed the Thick-billed Weaver. Pasha collected 3 specimens of the Slender-billed Weaver in Dec 1879 near Magungo. In 1880 he donated the specimens to Rudolf, Crown Prince of Austria, who passed them on to the Museum in Vienna. One of the specimens was swopped to go to Bremen where Hartlaub recognised it as a new species in 1887.

The first illustration of the Slender-billed Weaver was published by Hartlaub (1887), with the description of the species. The next illustration to be published was a line drawing by Sharpe (1890).

Scientific citation

Sitagra pelzelni Hartlaub 1887, Zool. Jahrb. 2, p.343, pl. 14, figs. 9-10, Magungo, Uganda.

Meaning of names

pelzelni, After August von Pelzeln (1825-1891) Austrian ornithologist, collector, and author.

First English name

Pelzeln's Slender-billed Weaver (Shelley 1905).

Alternate names

Little Slender-billed Black-faced Weaver, Monk weaver, Muanza Slender-billed Weaver, Palm Slender-billed Weaver, Pelzelni's Weaver, Pelzeln's Slender-billed Weaver, West African Weaver.

Collector

Emin Pasha.

Date collected

Nov-Dec 1879.

Locality collected

Magungo, Uganda.

Type specimens

There are syntypes in Bremen and Vienna Museums.

ADU Citizen Scientist Weekend, Bloemfontein, 22-24 April 2016

2016-04-24 (714)
photo
Group photo, after the talks
(click here for high resolution photo 3.5Mb)

An ADU Citizen Scientist Day was held at the Education Centre, Free State National Botanical Garden, Bloemfontein on 23 April. It was preceded by a bird ringing demonstration by Dawie de Swardt. There were 8 presentations and after lunch there was a BirdLasser workshop run by Henk Nel with support from Ernst Retief from BLSA.

To get to Bloemfontein, I flew with Blue Crane, but they changed the flight to Kimberley and used a shuttle to Bloem. I used the opportunity to count the White-browed Sparrow-weaver colonies. I counted 26 colonies along the N8 but had to stop 17 km before Bloemfontein as it was too dark.

On Saturday afternoon, Dawie and others set up nets at Bishop's Glen farm to catch birds that afternoon and the next morning.

After the ringing Dawie and I found some more White-browed Sparrow-weaver colonies to add to PHOWN.

Ringing totals for the FS National Botanic Gardens, 7-9am

photo
Ringing demo, before the talks
Species English Caught
544 Red-eyed Bulbul 4
553 Karoo Thrush 2
581 Cape Robin 3
786 Cape Sparrow 1
808 Southern Red Bishop 1
  Total 11

There were 3 recaptures: 2 cape Robins (both ringed in 2013), and a Karoo Thrush (ringed in 2006, see ring 4A35376).

Ringing totals for the Bishop's Glen farm, Sat pm and Sunday morning

photo
Mushroom for the Virtual Museum
Species English Caught
544 Red-eyed Bulbul 1
576 Stonechat 2
397 Malachite Kingfisher 1
604 Lesser Swamp Warbler 8
646 Levaillants Cisticola 3
803 Southern Masked Weaver 8
808 Southern Red Bishop 10
843 Common Waxbill 2
  Total 35

Thanks to Louise Coetzee for organising the event, to the speakers, and to all the citizen scientists! Thanks to Dawie for hosting me. Thanks to the Free State National Botanical Garden for the use of the Education Centre and gardens!

photo
The programme

Weaver Wednesday [201] - Discovery [84]: Bob-tailed Weaver

2016-04-20 (713)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Bob-tailed Weaver Brachycope anomala

Bob-tailed Weaver
Bob-tailed Weaver female & male,
figure from Bannerman (1949)
Bob-tailed Weaver
Bob-tailed Weaver male & female,
figure from Schouteden (1958)
Bob-tailed Weaver
Austro-Hungarian Congo Expedition,
figure from Wikipedia
Stanley Falls circled
Bob-tailed Weaver map
Bob-tailed Weaver
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Bob-tailed Weaver was formally described by Anton Reichenow, a German ornithologist and herpetologist.

The Bob-tailed Weaver was collected by Friedrich Bohndorff, a German researcher and ornithologist.

Bohndorff took part in the Austro-Hungarian Congo Expedition, 1885-87. It was led by Oskar Lenz, a German-Austrian geologist. They crossed the African continent from the Atlantic, following the Congo River and then continuing eastward to the Indian Ocean. The aims were to survey the economic trade situation in the newly established Congo Free State, and to map the Congo-Nile watershed between the Congo and Nile Rivers.

In February 1886 the expedition reached the Stanley Falls (named after Henry Morton Stanley who reached the falls in January 1877, 9 years prior to Bohndorff). Here Bohndorff collected a male Bob-tailed Weaver and this type specimen is in the Berlin Museum. The Bob-tailed Weaver occurs along much of the Congo River but Bohndorff missed it earlier, perhaps not having much time for collecting before reaching the Falls. Bohndorff also collected a new subspecies of the Village Weaver at Stanley Falls and Reichenow later named the subspecies after Bohndorff.

The first illustration of the Bob-tailed Weaver was published by Bannerman (1949), over 60 years after it was first described. The next illustration to be published was by Schouteden (1958).

Scientific citation

Ploceus anomalus Reichenow 1887, Journ. f. Orn., 35, p.214, Stanley Falls.

Meaning of names

anomala, Latin: anomalus, irregular, anomalous (Greek: Anomalos, irregular, strange).

First English name

Anomalous Weaver (Shelley 1905).

Alternate names

Anomalus Bishop.

Collector

Friedrich Bohndorff.

Date collected

Feb 1886.

Locality collected

Stanley Falls, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Type specimens

The type is in the Berlin Museum (ZMB_B.20007).

Weaver Wednesday [200] - Discovery [83]: Black-billed Weaver

2016-04-13 (712)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Black-billed Weaver Ploceus melanogaster

Black-billed Weaver
Black-billed Weaver female,
figure from Shelley (1887)
Black-billed Weaver
Black-billed Weaver female,
figure from Sharpe (1890)
Black-billed Weaver
Black-billed Weaver male (behind),
figure from Sharpe (1891)
Black-billed Weaver map
Black-billed Weaver
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Black-billed Weaver was formally described by George Ernest Shelley, an English geologist and ornithologist.

The Black-billed Weaver was collected by Harry Johnston, a British explorer, botanist, and colonial administrator.

Johnston climbed Mount Cameroon to collect explore and specimens. Burton and others had preceeded him, but Johnston found some new mammals and birds. He experienced a week of rain at 7350 feet (2.2 km) and then transferred his camp to Hunter's Hut at 8300 feet (2.5 km), in "a narrow peninsula of forest which pushes up the mountainside". Here he collected a female of the Black-billed Weaver, which Johnston thought was a male (the male was first collected a few years later). Johnston reached the summit of Mount Cameroon at 4km elevation, being the the fourth most prominent peak in Africa.

Shortly after this expedition, in October 1886, the British government appointed him vice-consul in Cameroon and the Niger River delta area.

The first illustration of the Black-billed Weaver was published by Shelley (1887) when he described the species. The next illustration to be published was a line drawing of the head published by Sharpe (1890), also of a female. Sharpe (1891) first illustrated a male.

Scientific citation

Ploceus melanogaster Shelley 1887, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, p.126, Cameroon Mt., 8000 ft.

Meaning of names

melanogaster, Greek: melas, black; gaster, the belly.

First English name

Johnston's Yellow-headed Black Weaver (Shelley 1905).

Alternate names

Black Mountain Weaver, Jackson's Yellow-headed Black Weaver, Johnston's Yellow-headed Black Weaver, Uganda Black-billed Weaver, Yellow-faced Black Weaver.

Collector

Harry Johnston.

Date collected

Sep 1886.

Locality collected

Mt Cameroon.

Type specimens

The type is in the British Museum (BM 1887.3.7.34).

Weaver Wednesday [199] - Discovery [82]: Rufous-tailed Weaver

2016-04-06 (711)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficaudus

Rufous-tailed Weaver
Rufous-tailed Weaver male,
figure from Sharpe (1890)
Rufous-tailed Weaver
Rufous-tailed Weaver female,
figure from Shelley (1905)
Rufous-tailed Weaver
Rufous-tailed Weaver,
type ZMB_30733
Rufous-tailed Weaver map
Rufous-tailed Weaver
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Rufous-tailed Weaver was formally described by Anton Reichenow, a German ornithologist and herpetologist.

The Rufous-tailed Weaver was collected by Dr Gustav A Fischer, a German African explorer.

Fischer settled as a physician in Zanzibar in 1876, from where he undertook expeditions to Tanzania and Kenya. Fischer collected some birds in Zanzibar and then undertook a trip along the Kenyan coast where he collected some Fire-fronted Bishops.

His third trip started in late 1882 on the Tanzanian coast and he followed the Pangani River upstream. When he reached the Pare Mountains in March 1883, he collected the type specimen of the Black-capped Social Weaver. Fischer visited Europe and then returned to Tanzania in 1885. On 1 August 1885 he left Pangani and travelled south to Irangi and then northwards towards Lake Victoria. On 24 October 1885 he found Rufous-tailed Weavers on the Wembere Steppe at the southern edge of the range of this species. Fischer briefly described the nests and habits of this weaver.

The first illustration of the Rufous-tailed Weaver was a line drawing of the head published by Sharpe (1890). The next illustration to be published was a colour painting of an adult Rufous-tailed Weaver in Shelley (1905).

Scientific citation

Histurgops ruficauda Reichenow 1887, Journ. f. Orn., 35, p.67, Wembere Steppe, central Tanganyika Territory.

Meaning of names

ruficauda, Latin: rufus, red; cauda, the tail.

First English name

Rufous-tailed Weaver (Shelley 1905).

Alternate names

None.

Collector

Gustav A. Fischer.

Date collected

24 Oct 1885.

Locality collected

Wembaere steppe, Tanzania.

Type specimens

There is a type in the Berlin Museum.
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