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
Northern Red Bishop

Accepted: 27009
(Uploaded: 27009)

Total nests counted: 8085565

Latest weaver links:
139 Baglafecht Weaver with grass seeds
138 Finns Weaver: revise global threat status?
137 Yellow-backed Weaver

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

Weaver Wednesday 4 [270] - Weaver themes [7]: Genus Euplectes 1

2017-08-16 (795)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday 4: Weaver themes (Series)

The Euplectes genus will be covered in 4 visual groups: Black and red bishops (5 spp), black and yellow bishops (5 spp), blue-billed widows (2 spp), long-tailed widows (5 spp). The Red-collared Widow is genetically closest to the bishops but will be covered in the last group.

Genus Euplectes 1. Black and red bishops

There are 5 bishops where the males in breeding plumage are black and red. The Fire-fronted Bishop has a little red (on the forehead) but much more yellow and thus falls in the second group.

These bishops are small, short-tailed weavers living in grasslands and wetlands. The bill is short and conical as the primary diet is seeds. The eyes are brown. The females are brown all year, and are slightly smaller than the males.

These bishops are territorial and polygynous. The nest is a thin-walled oval structure of coarse grass with a side entrance, sometimes with a porch over the entrance. The nest is built by the male, and lined by the female. The eggs are blue, sometimes with fine spotting. The female incubates and feeds the young.

The table below shows some plumage differences in the breeding males. The species are ordered by average wing size of males (Southern Red Bishop and Black Bishop populations vary in size geographically).

Species Wing
Forehead & crown Chin & breast
Zanzibar Bishop Euplectes nigroventris 58.8 red black
Northern Red Bishop Euplectes franciscanus 62.9 black red
Southern Red Bishop Euplectes orix 70-75 black & red black & red
Black-winged Bishop Euplectes hordeaceus 75.7 red black & red
Black Bishop Euplectes gierowii 79-87 black black & red

Northern Red Bishop
Northern Red Bishop male
Southern Red Bishop
Southern Red Bishop
Black Bishop
Black Bishop male
Zanzibar Bishop
Zanzibar Bishop male
Black-winged Bishop
Black-winged Bishop male (& female)

Weaver Wednesday 4 [269] - Weaver themes [6]: Genus Quelea

2017-08-09 (794)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday 4: Weaver themes (Series)

Genus Quelea

There are 3 quelea species. They are small, short tailed, sexually dimorphic weavers with short conical bills. They have yellow edges to the wing feathers rather than buff as in most Euplectes species. Queleas are also unstreaked below, unlike non-breeding or female Euplectes species. Females are dull, while breeding males have red heads (2 species) or a mask (usually black, sometimes white).

Queleas occur in moist to arid grassland. All species are highly gregarious, being major granivorous pests on small grain crops, particularly in the case of the Red-billed Quelea. They are nomadic or migratory in most regions.

Queleas are colonial, and build small nests with the entrance near the top at the side.

Links to species texts for the quelea:
Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea
Red-headed Quelea Quelea erythrops
Cardinal Quelea Quelea cardinalis

Red-billed Quelea
Red-billed Quelea male
Cardinal Quelea
Cardinal Quelea male & female
Red-headed Quelea
Red-headed Quelea male

Table: comparison of quelea information, from: Oschadleus HD. 2001. Bibliography of the African quelea species. Cape Town: Research Report of the Avian Demography Unit, University of Cape Town.

Quelea table

Weaver Wednesday 4 [268] - Weaver themes [5]: Genus Malimbus

2017-08-02 (793)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday 4: Weaver themes (Series)

Genus Malimbus

There are 10 malimbes, and they are found in the West African and equatorial African lowland rainforests. The origin of the genus is after the town of Malimbe, Angola, where the first Malimbe (a Crested Malimbe) was collected in around 1800.

The malimbes are generally black in plumage with some red, orange or yellow patches. The sexes are different, with females usually having smaller areas of the bright colours. One species has a crest. The juveniles differ slightly from both male and female adults in coloration, and also in pattern. Tow malimbes, the Gola and Ibadan Malimbes, are threatened, being classified as Endangered.

Malimbes feed on insects, often high in trees. Up to 6 species may occur in an area, but different species tend to occupy different vertical strata within the forest, ranging from the canopy (eg. Red-headed Malimbe) down to the understorey (eg. Blue-billed Malimbe).

The nests are neatly woven, some species adding a short or long entrance tunnel. ln some malimbes, nest building is co-operative, eg. Red-crowned and Cassin's Malimbes. When malimbes breed close together, species are usually separated by nest height above the ground. An unusual nest association with a predator occurs in the Blue-bi11ed Malimbe which often nests above pools containing the dens of dwarf crocodiles Osteolamis tetraspis.

Two weaver species have previously been considered to be malimbes: Red-headed Weaver and Yellow-legged Weaver .

Malimbe species:

Blue-billed Malimbe

Blue-billed Malimbe Malimbus nitens
Cassin's Malimbe Malimbus cassini
Crested Malimbe Malimbus malimbicus
Gola Malimbe Malimbus ballmanni
Ibadan Malimbe Malimbus ibadanensis
Rachel's Malimbe Malimbus racheliae
Red-bellied Malimbe Malimbus erythrogaster
Red-crowned Malimbe Malimbus coronatus
Red-headed Malimbe Malimbus rubricollis
Red-vented Malimbe Malimbus scutatus

Crested Malimbe
Ibadan Malimbe
Red-bellied Malimbe
Cassin's Malimbe
Red-crowned Malimbe
Red-headed Malimbe
Red-vented Malimbe
Rachel's Malimbe
Gola Malimbe

Weaver Wednesday 4 [267] - Weaver themes [4]: Genus Pseudonigrita

2017-07-26 (792)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday 4: Weaver themes (Series)

Genus Pseudonigrita

There are two species in the genus Pseudonigrita, this name meaning "false waxbill". They are small, social weavers of semi-arid parts in East Africa. The two species are distinguished by having a grey or black cap, on which the English names are based.

They forage on the ground, feeding mainly on seeds, and also insects.

Both species are colonial, monogamous, cooperative breeders, and build single nests of straight grass stems, which are clustered in groups in trees. Nests in a colony may touch or merge. Both sexes add nest material throughout the year. Nests have two entrances and are used for roosting. In breeding nests one entrance is closed. The breeding nest is used by a single pair.

The Pseudonigrita species
Grey-headed Social Weaver Pseudonigrita arnaudi
Black-capped Social Weaver Pseudonigrita cabanisi

Grey-headed Social Weaver
Black-capped Social Weaver

Weaver Wednesday 4 [266] - Weaver themes [3]: Histurgops & Sporopipes

2017-07-19 (791)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday 4: Weaver themes (Series)

Genera Histurgops & Sporopipes

Rufous-tailed Weaver
Rufous-tailed Weaver (figure from wikipedia)
Speckle-fronted Weaver
Speckle-fronted Weaver
Scaly-feathered Finch
Scaly-feathered Finch

The weavers in these 2 genera are brownish birds, found in savanna. The sexes are similar in all 3 species. They are all seed-eaters, and build nests of dry grass.

The Rufous-tailed Weaver is a medium-sized weaver of the East African savanna. It has a pale eye, mottled brown plumage with rufous rump and tail.
Breeding. The Rufous-tailed Weaver is monogamous, but colonial. The nest is a ball of grass, not woven, with an entrance spout, and placed in trees.

The genus Sporopipes has 2 species that are very small, social weavers of semi-arid to arid country. The head plumage has dark feathers with pale margins, and moustachial stripes. The nape colour is distinct - chestnut in the Speckle-fronted Weaver, and brown in the Scaly-feathered Finch.
Breeding. The nest is a bundle of straight grass stems, not woven. The nest is occupied by a single breeding pair, but may be used by groups for roosting in the non-breeding season. Some courtship behaviour (bill-clicking, carrying nesting material) shows parallels to the Estrildidae family (waxbills and finches).

The ranges of the 2 Sporopipes species do not overlap, but the range of the Speckle-fronted Weaver does overlap with that of the Rufous-tailed Weaver (in Tanzania).

Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficauda
Speckle-fronted Weaver Sporopipes frontalis
Scaly-feathered Finch Sporopipes squamifrons

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