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Weaver Wednesday [174] - Discovery [57]: Comoro Fody

2015-10-14 (674)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Comoro Fody Foudia eminentissima

Comoro Fody
Comoro Fody,
figure from Verreaux (1867)
Comoro Fody
Comoro Fody (algondae), figure
from Pollen (1868), top: immature
male, lower: adult male
Comoro Fody map
Comoro Fody
distribution, type locality circled


The Comoro Fody was formally described by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a French biologist and ornithologist. Around 1849 Bonaparte began work on preparing a classification of all the birds in the world, visiting museums across Europe to study the collections. In 1850, he published the first volume of his Conspectus Generum Avium which included 3 weavers. Bonaparte studied the type specimen of the Comoro Fody in the Paris Museum.

The Comoro Fody was collected by Loius Rosseau. Rousseau travelled the western Indian Ocean on the French naval corvettes Prevoyante and Dordogne in 1839-1841. The Prevoyante visited Mayotte in 1840 and 1841 and the Dordogne visited Mayotte and Zanzibar at least in 1840 (Cheke 2011). The Comoro Fody may have been introduced to Zanzibar, and then collected there by Rousseau, or Rousseau mis-labelled his specimen.

The Comoro Fody differs slightly in measurements and plumage on the different islands of the Comores, and Benson (1960) showed that the type specimen matches the subspecies on Moheli Island.

The first illustration of a Comoro Fody is by Verreaux (1867) of the nominate subspecies. The next illustration was published the following year by Pollen (1868), but of subspecies algondae. Reichenbach (1863) mentioned the species, and provided an English name, but did not illustrate it.

Scientific citation

Foudia eminentissimus Bonaparte 1850 Consp. Gen. Av., 1, p.446 "Zanzibar", error for Mohe'li Island, fide Benson (1960, Ibis, 103b, p.101).

Meaning of names

eminentissima - Latin. eminentissimus, very conspicuous, outstanding (super. of eminens, prominent).

First English name

The Zanzibar Foudi (Reichenbach 1863).

Alternate names

Grand Comoro Fody, Johanna Fody, Mayotte Fody, Red Forest Fody, Red-headed Fody, Red-headed Forest Fody.


Loius Rosseau.

Date collected

1840 - 1841.

Locality collected

Zanzibar = Moheli Island, Comores.

Type specimens

The type specimen is in the Paris Museum.