Weaver Wednesday  - Discovery : Sakalava Weaver2015-11-11 (680)
Weaver Wednesday (species text)
Sakalava Weaver Ploceus sakalava
IntroductionThe Sakalava Weaver was formally described by Karel Johan Gustav Hartlaub, a German physician and ornithologist.
The Sakalava Weaver had been collected by Victor Sganzin, a French naval officer and zoologist. Sganzin was appointed as military administrator of the French outpost at Sainte Marie island (Madagascar), and he explored the Malagasy fauna from 1831-1832 (Sganzin 1840), collecting many bird specimens.
When Sganzin returned to the Cape, he gave the Sakalava Weaver specimen to Jules Verreaux (at the South African Museum). It must have been sent to the British Museum at some stage. It was overlooked as a new species for many years, until the head ornithologist of the British Museum, George Robert Gray, pointed it out to Hartlaub (Hartlaub 1867), who was writing about the birds of Madagascar (Hartlaub 1861).
The first illustrations of the Sakalava Weaver were published by Edwards (1879). The first plate contained line drawings of the wing, head, bill and foot. This was followed by a colour plate of a male and female.
Scientific citationPloceus sakalava Hartlaub 1861, Beitr. Faun. Madag., p.54 Madagascar.
Meaning of namessakalava - After the Sakalava, a native clan of Madagascar whose kingdom, established in the sixteenth century, was subdued in 1824 and incorporated into a united Madagascar.
First English nameSakalava Weaver-bird (Sibree 1891), decades after it was first described.
Alternate namesSakalava Fody.
Type specimensThe type specimen is in the British Museum (BM 18184.108.40.206).