Weaver Wednesday  - Discovery : Comoro Fody2015-10-14 (674)
Weaver Wednesday (species text)
Comoro Fody Foudia eminentissima
IntroductionThe 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 citationFoudia eminentissimus Bonaparte 1850 Consp. Gen. Av., 1, p.446 "Zanzibar", error for Mohe'li Island, fide Benson (1960, Ibis, 103b, p.101).
Meaning of nameseminentissima - Latin. eminentissimus, very conspicuous, outstanding (super. of eminens, prominent).
First English nameThe Zanzibar Foudi (Reichenbach 1863).
Alternate namesGrand Comoro Fody, Johanna Fody, Mayotte Fody, Red Forest Fody, Red-headed Fody, Red-headed Forest Fody.
Date collected1840 - 1841.
Locality collectedZanzibar = Moheli Island, Comores.
Type specimensThe type specimen is in the Paris Museum.