48th PHOWN species & first Kilombero Weaver PHOWN record2012-02-23 (191)
The latest PHOWN record is for Kilombero Weaver Ploceus burnieri, a weaver with a small range in south central Tanzania, with a range of 3000 km2. The record was submitted by Paul Oliver who also submitted the first Tanganyika Masked Weaver record to PHOWN (VM 1900). This species is the newest weaver species known to science, being described as recently as 1990 by Neil and Liz Baker. The Bakers noted that there were no other Ploceus species in the nesting area of the Kilombero Weaver, and the closest Yellow (or Eastern Golden or African Golden) Weaver Ploceus subaureus nests were 7km away. The colonies described by the authors had a few to 20 or 30 nests. The new PHOWN record was a mixed colony of Kilombero Weavers VM 1961 with Yellow Weavers VM 1960, with 200-300 birds of both species combined. Yellow Weavers are larger than Kilombero Weavers and Baker consider that Yellow Weavers may be more recent in the swamps, implying that they could out-compete Kilombero Weavers. This PHOWN record is significant in showing the two species nesting together.
Summary of breeding information of the Kilombero Weaver, see here.
Photo: adult male Kilombero Weaver (by Paul Oliver)