Weaver news

Ringing Red-billed Quelea in the Worcester area, 6 Sept 2015

2015-09-10 (667)

At the start of Sept 2015 Erna Rabie noticed small flocks of quelea on her farm Nuwerus. A team of ringers set up nets on 6 Sept to ring the quelea and other birds on the farm. The quelea had bred on the farm in May/April 2009 at the lower dam (see previous trip) but this time the quelea were closer to the top dam.

All birds that were captured were ringed. The Southern Red Bishops were breeding in the reeds and 12 nests had eggs (1-4 eggs), none with chicks, and there were several empty nests (see PHOWN record). The quelea were probably roosting further along the stream and only 2 were caught in the early morning. Closer to midday, small flocks returned from the surrounding fields for their midday roost in the reeds, and some 30 were caught before packing up. A few quelea were males in in near full breeding plumage and body moult was very evident (only one had primary moult). The rest of the quelea were either adult females, or more likely, immatures.

Surprisingly few other species were caught, but 4 African Reed Warblers showed that these had already returned from their migration. One African Reed Warbler had a few white feathers on the head.

Ringing team: Barry & Sue Schultz, Bill & Jade Dunn.

Thanks to Hannes and Erna Rabie for their wonderful hospitality. Thanks to Tom, Gerhard and Linda for their help!

Ringing team at dawn
Milo, about to release a bishop
Red-billed Quelea male with white mask
Red-billed Quelea male with head moult
African Reed Warbler with white head feathers

Ringing totals

No. Species Ringed
606 African Reed Warbler 4
799 Cape Weaver 1
803 Southern Masked Weaver 5
805 Red-billed Quelea 32
808 Southern Red Bishop 59
  Total 101