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
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Fan-tailed Widow on UCT Summer School banner

PHOWN:
Accepted: 27887
(Uploaded: 27866)

Total nests counted: 8093761

Latest weaver links:
141 Red-billed Buffalo-weaver in flight
140 Weavers ringed in Entebbe
139 Baglafecht Weaver with grass seeds

Todays weaver type: (see more here)
19 Apr 1958, Ploceus cucullatus paroptus , Village Weaver

Latest weaver news

White-eyes and weavers in the Paardeberg

2018-03-29 (819)
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Paardeberg mountain, showing ringing site
The Paardeberg stands out as a mountainous island in an agricultural landscape between Paarl/Wellington and Malmesbury in the Swartland region of the Western Cape. Very little bird ringing has taken place here, so Les Underhill and I had a ringing session on Bowwood Farm today. The top species was Cape White-eye (n=22), followed by Southern Masked Weavers (n=8), where 2 of the latter were males in partial breeding plumage. Most of the birds had completed moult, but a few birds were at the end of primary moult.

birdpix 51442
Southern Masked Weaver male

Species n
White-backed Mousebird 1
Cape Robin 3
Olive Thrush 5
Cape White-eye 22
Karoo Prinia 2
Cape Weaver 3
Southern Masked Weaver 8
Streaky-headed Canary 1
TOTALS 45

The ring of one bird has been recovered in the Paardeberg area, a Cape Weaver ringed with ring 231054 in the Kraaifontein area by Clive Elliott in 1968.

Thanks to Julian and Bridget Johnsen for hosting us!

Weaver Wednesday: More weaver longevities

2018-03-21 (818)
To see the greatest elasped times for southern African weavers, see here.
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CC64467, at first recapture (2005-07-02)

Spectacled Weaver

The longevity of this species has increased by 2 months, from 12y 5m (ring BB38355) to 12y 7m (ring CC64467). Interestingly, both records are from Darvill, Pietermaritzburg, where a relatively high number of Spectacled Weavers have been ringed.

The new record is a male, while the previous one was a female. The male had been recaptured 9 times, and was still alive on 2017-10-25, and could thus be recaptured again.

Fan-tailed Widowbird

The previous longevity record for this species was ring BD20152 at 9y 6m, but the correct longevity was overlooked for some time.

The correct longevity record for this widowbird is 14y 10m 14d (ring F51655). It is a male ringed at Darvill, and recaptured there 3 times, the last time being on 2009-05-16.

Ringing weekend at Wittewater Farm, 15-18 February 2018: buntings and bishops

2018-02-23 (817)
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Wittewater Farm
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Cape Bunting
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Yellow Bishop

Phil Green hosted Barry and Sue and me on Wittewater farm, north of Piketberg, for a long weekend of ringing. We had nets around the farm house and next to a fresh water spring. We were amazed at the large number of Cape Buntings caught, followed by Yellow Bishops.

Species n
Cape Turtle Dove 1
White-backed Mousebird 3
Rock Martin 1
Cape Bulbul 8
Olive Thrush 1
Cape Robin 8
Karoo Robin 3
Long-billed Crombec 1
Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler 1
Fiscal Flycatcher 1
Fairy Flycatcher 1
Fiscal Shrike 2
Bokmakierie 1
Southern Double-collared Sunbird 3
Cape Sparrow 2
Southern Grey-headed Sparrow 2
Cape Weaver 8
Yellow Bishop 17
Yellow Canary 1
Streaky-headed Canary 2
Cape Bunting 83
Cape White-eye 5
Karoo Prinia 5
Southern Greyheaded Sparrow 1
TOTALS 161

Weaver Wednesday 4 [291] - Weaver themes [28]: Anton Reichenow, author of most weaver species

2018-01-10 (816)

Weaver Wednesday 4: Weaver themes (Series)

Anton Reichenow, author of most weaver species

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Anton Reichenow
The weavers were described by 49 different authors (counting first authors only, where more than one was involved, see Discovery by author). Most weavers were described by Reichenow (n=10), followed by Linnaeus (n=9) and Hartlaub (n=8). Reichenow also co-authored the descriptions of 2 more weavers. He also described many weaver taxa that are now subspecies or not valid taxa.
Heuglin's Masked Weaver
Heuglin's Masked Weaver,
first weaver described by Reichenow

Anton Reichenow (1847 - 1941) was a German ornithologist and herpetologist. Reichenow was the son-in-law of Jean Cabanis, and worked at the Humboldt Museum from 1874 to 1921. He was an expert on African birds, making a collecting expedition to West Africa in 1872 and 1873, and writing "Die Vogel Afrikas (1900-05)". He was also an expert on parrots, describing all species then known in a book. He was editor of the Journal fur Ornithologie from 1894 to 1921. A number of birds are named after him, including Reichenow's woodpecker and Reichenow's firefinch.

Reichenow also worked in the scientific field of herpetology. He is credited with describing a new genus and two new species of frogs, and two new species of lizards.

Weavers described by Reichenow:
Heuglin's Masked Weaver
Tanganyika Masked Weaver
Bob-tailed Weaver
Rufous-tailed Weaver
Preuss's Weaver
Yellow-capped Weaver
Red-bellied Malimbe
Olive-headed Weaver
Montane Marsh Widowbird
Black-chinned Weaver

Weaver Wednesday 4 [290] - Weaver themes [27]: Genus Ploceus - 6. 'Hyphanturgus' weavers

2018-01-03 (815)

Weaver Wednesday 4: Weaver themes (Series)

'Hyphanturgus' weavers

Cabanis 1851a first used the subgenus 'Hyphanturgus', from the Greek huphaino, to weave; -ourgos, working, ie. nestbuilding activities. A variety of weavers were included in this group by different authors, the final revision being by Wolters 1982a, who upgraded this taxon to genus level and included 3 species.

'Hyphanturgus' weavers:
Spectacled Weaver
Black-necked Weaver
Black-billed Weaver

Note: Two subspecies of the Black-necked Weaver have recently been upgraded to species level.

These weavers have black bills that are long and slender. The sexes are alike in plumage except that the males in all these species have a black throat. The birds have yellow and black or olive plumages. The back, closed wing and tail are uniform olive green in 2 taxa and black in the other two.

The green-backed taxa are very similar in plumage but have distinctly different calls. The black-backed taxa differ in their underparts being yellow or black.

These weavers are usually solitary and monogamous breeders. The nest is oval and has a short or long entrance tube, and is usually placed in trees. They lay two or three eggs that are blue to whitish eggs spotted with fine red speckles.

Hyphanturgus weaver ranges
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