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
Juba Weaver

PHOWN:
Accepted: 23957
(Uploaded: 23957)

Total nests counted: 8054478

Latest weaver links:
91 Moulting Yellow Bishop male
90 Discovery of Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver Plocepasser donaldsoni
89 Female Red-collared Widowbird

Todays weaver type: (see more here)
27 Jul 1930, Amblyospiza albifrons maxima , Thick-billed Weaver

Latest weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [215] - Discovery [98]: Juba Weaver

2016-07-27 (734)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Juba Weaver Ploceus dichrocephalus

Juba Weaver
Juba Weaver adult
figure from Mackworth (1955)
Ruspoli's Turaco
Ruspoli's Turaco
figure from Wikipedia
Juba Weaver map
Juba Weaver
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Juba Weaver was formally described by Tommaso Salvadori, an Italian zoologist and ornithologist who published at least 300 ornithological papers.

The Juba Weaver was collected by Prince Eugenio Ruspoli, an Italian aristocrat (descendent of the famous noble family in Rome) and naturalist.

Ruspoli explored the region between Ethiopia and Somalia during two visits, the first being in 1891. During his second expedition to north-east Africa (1892-1893) he explored the regions around Lake Rudolf. Ruspoli collected only 35 specimens of 32 species (Salvadori 1896). On 4 December 1893 he was killed by an elephant while hunting around Lake Bissan Abbaia (Abaya), north-east of Lake Stefania.

The specimens Ruspoli had collected, including birds, insects, reptiles and mammals, were sent to the Museum of Genoa in Italy, but the specimens were in bad condition and without proper labels. Salvadori recognised 3 new species: Juba Weaver, Salvadori's Serin Serinus xantholaema, and Ruspoli's Turaco Turacus ruspolii. Although the type locality is often given as Somalia, these species would have been collected in present day Ethiopia.

The first illustration of the Juba Weaver was of an adult male, published several decades after first description, by Mackworth (1955). The next illustrations were printed in field guides from 1995 onwards.

Scientific citation

Hyphantornis dichrocephalus Salvadori 1896a, Ann. Mus. Genova 16(2), p.45, Italian Somaliland and Gallaland.

Meaning of names

dicrocephalus, Greek: Dikhrous, two-coloured; -kephalos, headed.

First English name

Chestnut-headed Golden Weaver (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Chestnut-headed Golden Weaver, Jubaland Weaver, Salvadori's Weaver, Somali Yellow-backed Weaver.

Collector

Prince Eugenio Ruspoli.

Date collected

1892 or 1893.

Locality collected

Ethiopia.

Type specimens

The type is in the Museum of Genoa.

Weaver Wednesday [214] - Discovery [97]: Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver

2016-07-20 (733)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver Plocepasser donaldsoni

Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver
Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver
adult, figure from Sharpe (1901)
Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver
Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver
nests, figure from Oberholser (1945)
Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver map
Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver
distribution, type locality circled
Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver
Part of Donaldson Smith's map,
type locality circled

Introduction

Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver was formally described by Richard Bowdler Sharpe, an English zoologist.

Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver was collected by Arthur Donaldson Smith, an American doctor, amateur big-game hunter, and explorer of Africa.

In in 1894-95 Donaldson Smith undertook an 18-month geological expedition in East Africa. The expedition started in Berbera, Somalia (then British Somaliland), passed through what was then Somaliland, southern Ethiopia and then to Lake Rudolph (now Lake Turkana) in Kenya. Donaldson Smith collected birds and many animals, particularly fish, spiders, scorpions, butterflies and beetles. The expedition left Lake Rudolf on 24 August 1895, and went SW, and crossed Marsabit Mt. On 13 September Donaldson Smith had a close encounter with an elephant, and the next day he collected the weaver specimen. He reached Lasamis on 16 September.

Donaldson Smith wrote a book about his travels, which can be downloaded here (295 Mb).

The first illustration of the Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver was of an adult, published by Sharpe (1901). The next illustration was a black and white photo of nests by Oberholser (1945).

Scientific citation

Plocepasser donaldsoni Sharpe 1895a, Bull. Br. Orn. Club, 5, p.14 'Eastern Africa' = Lasamis, Kenya.

Meaning of names

donaldsoni, Named after A. Donaldson-Smith (1864-1939) US zoologist and collector in Somaliland, 1894-1895.

First English name

Donaldson Sparrow-Weaver (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Donaldson's Sparrow-Weaver, Somali Grey Sparrow Weaver.

Collector

Arthur Donaldson Smith.

Date collected

14 Sep 1895.

Locality collected

Lasamis, Kenya.

Type specimens

The type is in the British Museum (BM 1895.7.7.23).

Weaver Wednesday [213] - Discovery [96]: Red-bellied Malimbe

2016-07-13 (732)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Red-bellied Malimbe Malimbus erythrogaster

Red-bellied Malimbe
Red-bellied Malimbe female (L), male(R),
figure from Reichenow (1896)
Red-bellied Malimbe
Red-bellied Malimbe male,
figure from Ogilvie-Grant (1910)
Red-bellied Malimbe map
Red-bellied Malimbe
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Red-bellied Malimbe was formally described by Anton Reichenow, a German ornithologist and herpetologist.

The Red-bellied Malimbe was collected by Georg August Zenker, a German zoologist and botanist.

In 1886 Zenker accompanied Italian explorers on an expedition to the lower reaches of the Congo River, where he then settled on a plantation in Gabon. The company had to give up the plantation in 1889, so the company owner made Zenker head of the research station at Yaounde in the interior of Cameroon - Zenker remained here from 1889-1895.

Zenker collected 5000 plant specimens and a number of birds which were sent to the Berlin Museum. Zenker collected two Red-bellied Malimbes, a male and a female, sometime between 1889 and 1893, probably closer to 1893. The types are in the Berlin Museum. Zenker also collected the Yellow-capped Weaver in the same time period but probably before the Red-bellied Malimbe as the weaver was described first.

The first illustration of the Red-bellied Malimbe was of the type male and female, published by Reichenow (1896). The next illustration was by Ogilvie-Grant 1910 of the male.

Scientific citation

Malimbus erythrogaster Reichenow 1893c, Orn. Monatsb., 1, p.205, Jaunde, Cameroon.

Meaning of names

erythrogaster, Greek: Eruthros, red; gaster, the belly.

First English name

Red-breasted Malimbe (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Red-bellied Weaver, Red-breasted Malimbe, Semliki Red-bellied Malimbe.

Collector

Georg August Zenker.

Date collected

Between 1889-1893.

Locality collected

Jaunde, Cameroon.

Type specimens

The types are in the Berlin Museum (ZMB_31798, ZMB_31799).

Weaver Wednesday [212] - Discovery [95]: Yellow-capped Weaver

2016-07-06 (731)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Yellow-capped Weaver Ploceus dorsomaculatus

Yellow-capped Weaver
Yellow-capped Weaver female,
figure from Reichenow (1896)
Yellow-capped Weaver
Yellow-capped Weaver,
figure from Ogilvie-Grant (1917)
Yellow-capped Weaver map
Yellow-capped Weaver
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

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

The Yellow-capped Weaver was collected by Georg August Zenker, a German zoologist and botanist.

In 1886 Zenker accompanied Italian explorers on an expedition to the lower reaches of the Congo River. he then settled on a plantation in Gabon. When the company had to give up the plantation in 1889, the company owner made Zenker head of the research expedition into the interior of Cameroon, which was based at Yaounde where Zenker remained from 1889-1895.

Zenker collected 5000 plant specimens and a number of birds which were sent to the Berlin Museum. Zenker collected a female Yellow-capped Weaver sometime between 1889 and 1893, probably closer to 1893. Unfortunately the crate containing the Yellow-capped Weaver type became wet, and mould appeared on this specimen. Although damaged, the type is still in the Berlin Museum.

The male Yellow-capped Weaver was first described several years later by Bates 1911b, who collected a pair at Bitye, Cameroon.

The first illustration of the Yellow-capped Weaver was of the type, published by Reichenow (1896) three years after he published the description. The next illustration was by Ogilvie-Grant 1917, who painted the head and chin patterns of male and female Yellow-capped Weavers, this being the first time that the male was illustrated.

Scientific citation

Symplectes dorsomaculatus Reichenow 1893b, Orn. Monatsber., 1, p.177, Jaunde, Cameroon.

Meaning of names

dorsomaculatus, Latin: dorsum, dorsi, the back; maculatus, spotted, blotched (maculare, to stain).

First English name

Mottle-backed Black-winged Weaver (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Mottle-backed Black-winged Weaver, The Yellow-capped Weaver, Yellow Capped Weaver.

Collector

Georg August Zenker.

Date collected

Between 1889-1893.

Locality collected

Jaunde, Cameroon.

Type specimens

The type is in the Berlin Museum (ZMB_30841).

Oldest Southern Red Bishop

2016-07-05 (730)
Southern Red Bishop
Female Southern Red Bishop
On 25 February 2016 Peter Dearlove ringed 16 birds at the Dundee Sewage Works, including two Southern Red Bishop retraps. One of these was an adult female (ring FA05661). I had ringed this bishop a few kms away, at the Dundee Quarry, as a recently fledged juvenile, in 2000. The elapsed time was 15 years 2 months 10 days.

The previous longevity record for this species was 13 years 6 months 4 days (ring F65391)

Only two other weaver species have longevity records of over 15 years in the wild, Sociable Weaver and Southern Masked Weaver. See these weaver longevity records here.

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