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: 28098
(Uploaded: 28070)

Total nests counted: 8095154

Latest weaver links:
144 Red-billed Quelea vagrant record
143 White-winged Widowbird, take-off
141 Red-billed Buffalo-weaver in flight

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

PHOWN records from Eritrea

2018-06-11 (822)
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PHOWN records in Asmara, Eritrea

In early June 2018 Pieter Cronje visited Asmara in Eritrea and found a large number of weaver nests. Most nests he found were Baglafecht Weaver nests, and a few were Village Weaver nests. Together with Ruppell's Weaver, these are the most common Ploceus weavers in Eritrea.

Although there were two PHOWN records from Eritrea previously, Pieter's sample has increased the number to over 100. This puts Eritrea in tenth place for number of PHOWN records per country (see country totals).

Interestingly, most of the Baglafecht Weaver nests were found in palm trees, a nesting site known for this species (although as a site used occasionally). The nests of this weaver are built underneath the palm fronds, often near the trunk but sometimes closer to the tip of the frond.

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Baglafecht Weaver nests in palm tree

PHOWN, PHOtos of Weaver Nests, is a Virtual Museum, citizen science project of the Animal Demography Unit, to collect and monitor breeding distributions and colony sizes of weaver birds globally. To take part, register and upload records at Virtual Museum (read the "How to" pdf for help).

Ringing at Fynbos Estate (Paardeberg), 25-27 May 2018

2018-05-29 (821)
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Some of the birds ringed at Fynbos Estate

The first ever ringing trip at Fynbos Estate, Paardeberg, was undertaken on 26-27 May 2018. Barry and Sue Schultz, Les Underhill and Dieter Oschadleus spent the weekend in the Black Eagle cottage to ring near the cottage area. There was a reed patch where weavers roosted and visited during the day, and there was a row of trees and bushes, both areas resulting in a steady flow of birds. The top species for ringing were Cape Weaver (n=62), Cape White-eye (51), and Cape Robin (14). We were surprised at the diversity of species caught: 24 species in total, including all 3 South African mousebirds, 4 weaver species, 2 shrike species and 2 sunbird species. The star species was the Cardinal Woodpecker, with 2 males being caught (surprisingly one was caught in the nets at the reeds!).

Les put a "moth trap" at night to photogrpah moths for LepiMap.
Cape Weavers in the palm tree at the farm house were already building new nests.
Thanks to Diana and Johan Simms for a wonderful weekend!

List of birds recorded at Fynbos Estate, 25-27 May 2018: also numbers ringed, and a link to birdpix for those photographed

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Black Eagle cottage with nets along tree lines

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Reed patch with nets

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Barry and Sue hard at work

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Cardinal Woodpecker, male

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Malachite Sunbird, male

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Red-eyed Dove

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Cape Weaver colony

ADU no. Species Ringed Birdpix
55 Blackheaded Heron
84 Hadeda Ibis
89 Egyptian Goose
133 Black Eagle 54059
142 Martial Eagle 54062
152 Jackal Buzzard 54048,
53914
181 Cape Spurfowl
192 Helmeted Guineafowl 54047
311 Speckled Pigeon 54063
314 Red-eyed Dove 1 54246
316 Cape Turtle Dove
317 Laughing Dove 54051
368 Spotted Eagle Owl
373 Fierynecked Nightjar
390 Speckled Mousebird 1 54034
391 White-backed Mousebird 1 54035
392 Red-faced Mousebird 11 54026
450 Cardinal Woodpecker 2 54044,
54023
522 Pied Crow
524 White-necked Raven
543 Cape Bulbul 7 54025
553 Olive Thrush 2
570 Familiar Chat 54147
576 Stonechat 1 53915,
54243
581 Cape Robin 14 54027
618 Grassbird
622 Bar-throated Apalis 2 54031
646 Levaillant's Cisticola 1
658 Chestnut-vented Tit-babbler
665 Fiscal Flycatcher 3 54060,
54242
672 Cape Batis 5 54110,
54033
686 Cape Wagtail 54052
703 Orangethroated Longclaw
707 Fiscal Shrike 4 54045,
54240
709 Southern Boubou 1 54028
722 Bokmakierie
733 Common Starling 54057
745 Red-winged Starling 54054
749 Cape Sugarbird 54061
751 Malachite Sunbird 3 54046
760 Southern Double-collared Sunbird 1 54056,
54241
784 House Sparrow 54055,
54087
786 Cape Sparrow 54151
787 Southern Grey-headed Sparrow 1
799 Cape Weaver 62 54053
803 Southern Masked Weaver 11 54025
808 Southern Red Bishop 6
810 Yellow Bishop 9 54029
857 Cape Canary 54058
865 White-throated Canary
873 Cape Bunting
1172 Cape White-eye 50 54150
4139 Karoo Prinia 1
TOTALS 200

Bowwood (Paardeberg) repeat ringing, 21-22/04/2018

2018-04-23 (820)
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Ringing sites were around the farm house, surrounding vineyards, and woodland patches
The second ringing trip to on Bowwood Farm, Paardeberg, was undertaken on 22 April 2018, 3.5 weeks since the previous visit. The top species was Cape White-eye again (n=26), but no white-eye recaptures. The table below compares the species totals from the 2 trips.
Nearly the same total number of birds was caught on both trips with 6 species caught both times. The April trip yielded more species, however, since nets were scattered over a wider area. Interesting catches included a Cape Batis and some Swee Waxbills. Four birds were recaptured: 1 Olive Thrush, 2 Karoo Prinias (clearly a pair, being caught at the same time on each trip), and 1 Southern Masked Weaver.

Thanks to Julian and Bridget Johnsen for hosting us!

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Cape Batis male
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Swee Waxbill male
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Swee Waxbill female

Species March April
White-backed Mousebird 1 0
Cape Robin 3 2
Olive Thrush 5 3
Cape Bulbul 0 1
Fiscal Flycatcher 0 1
Cape Batis 0 1
Karoo Prinia 2 2
Southern Double-collared Sunbird 0 1
Cape White-eye 22 26
Cape Weaver 3 2
Southern Masked Weaver 8 3
Southern Red Bishop 0 1
Swee Waxbill 0 3
Streaky-headed Canary 1 0
SPECIES 9 13
TOTALS 45 46

White-eyes and weavers at Bowwood (Paardeberg), 28-29/03/2018

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!

Also see more photos at BDI web (Biodiversity and Development Institute)

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.

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