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Weaver Wednesday [91]: Yellow-capped Weaver

2014-03-12 (492)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday

The Yellow-capped Weaver Ploceus dorsomaculatus is similar to the 'nuthatch' (bark-gleaning) weavers, i.e. Brown-capped Weaver, Preuss's Weaver, Sao Tome Weaver, Bar-winged Weaver, Olive-headed Weaver and Usambara Weaver.

The Yellow-capped Weaver overlaps with the Brown-capped Weaver and Preuss's Weaver in range, but differs from them in having a black rump, and little yellow on the black back. The male has the forehead to nape yellow, and the female has a black head but yellow nape and throat. The juvenile is olive-green below, with a brown bill, and is blackish-brown above, and over time this is replaced by yellow and black.

The Yellow-capped Weaver occurs in two widely separated populations: in eastern DRCongo (and 1 recent record in Uganda), and in West Africa from south Cameroon and Central African Republic to northern Gabon and Congo Republic (see map below, based on Birds of Africa). There are no subspecies of the Yellow-capped Weaver. It is a very poorly known species with a patchy and very localized distribution.

Yellow-capped Weaver map

The Yellow-capped Weaver inhabits evergreen forest; in primary forest it is often found near clearings, and it enters secondary forest.

The Yellow-capped Weaver feeds on insects and other arthropods, including butterflies and caterpillars, larvae of mantids, alate termites, and spiders. It forages in foliage in the canopy and middle storey, but not along branches as in the 'nuthatch' weavers. It flycatches insects in the open canopy. The Yellow-capped Weaver occurs in small flocks of 6-8 individuals, and also joins mixed-species flocks.

The Yellow-capped Weaver is a solitary nester and is probably monogamous. The nest is ball-shaped, with a short, loosely woven entrance tunnel directed downwards. The nest is woven around the fork of a hanging branch more than 30 m above the ground. The eggs have not not described and nothing else is known about breeding.

There are no PHOWN records for the Yellow-capped Weaver yet (see PHOWN summary). Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.

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