Turnover of weaver species2013-10-18 (434)
In an email to sabirdnet, Mostert Kriek noted a change in composition of weavers breeding at Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary in Pretoria.
Mostert wrote: "I have recollections of only three weaver or bishop species, namely Cape Weaver, Masked Weaver and Red Bishop in the early eighties." Visiting this month, he noted: "there were however three other species, that were absent in the early eighties. Spotted-backed Weavers were very evident in the reed beds, where they are nesting. Thick-billed Weavers were seen regularly. And one male Lesser Masked Weaver, another subtropical species, was also seen. Of the species that occurred in the eighties, I saw none, though Masked Weaver must certainly pass through at times." (He wisely cautioned that "Take note though, that bird populations of this reserve are in constant flux, and no two visits are the same.")
In response, Vincent Parker noted: "Village Weavers and Thick-billed Weavers have been breeding in the sanctuary for at least 10 years. Southern Masked Weaver and Red Bishop are still present in numbers, perhaps just not visible at the moment from the hide and vicinity. Cape Weaver has not been present in the sanctuary for some years, but are breeding nearby in Jan Cilliers Park. For details, see Ornithological Observations, vol 3, pg 128-185."
In a follow-up to Austin Roberts sanctuary Mostert found that the Lesser Masked Weaver had 8 nests in the willow tree above the hide, and a female Lesser Masked was feeding chicks in one of the nests. He also saw 3 male Southern Red Bishops, and a Southern Masked Weaver nest in an Acacia some distance from the dam.
Do you think there are changes in weaver composition in your area? Submit PHOWN records to provide baseline data!