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Weaver Wednesday [183] - Discovery [66]: Seychelles Fody

2015-12-16 (687)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Seychelles Fody Foudia sechellarum

Seychelles Fody
Fody bill shapes, Seychelles Fody circled,
figure from Moreau (1960)
Seychelles Fody
Seychelles Fody displaying,
figure from Crook (1961)
Seychelles Fody
Seychelles Fody male,
figure from Watson (1963)
Seychelles Fody map
Seychelles Fody distribution,
type locality circled in black


The Seychelles Fody was formally described by Edward Newton, a British colonial administrator and ornithologist. Newton was the Colonial Secretary for Mauritius from 1859 to 1877. In Jan-Feb 1866 he visited the Seychelles.

On 12 February 1866, Newton landed on Marianne Island, looking for a bird known on that island as "Le Mangeur de riz" (French for Rice Eater). This bird turned out to be the Seychelles Fody. Newton shot three specimens which are now in the museum in Cambridge. Newton also observed some fifty to a hundred similar dull coloured birds on the island, and wrote:
"In habits these birds are gregarious, and I should imagine, live chiefly on grass-seed, they are said also, as their name implies, to eat rice. The proprietor of Marianne told me the species was also found at Ladigue, but was not plentiful there."

By 1961 the Seychelles Fody was found to be extinct on Marianne.

The first illustration pertaining to Seychelles Fody was of the bill shapes of different fody species by Moreau (1960). The next illustration was a line drawing of displaying male by Crook (1961). Possibly because the Seychelles Fody is the least colourful of all the fodies, there was a long interval between description and first illustrations. The first time all the fodies were illustrated was by Watson (1963), although these were line drawings (not colour) for identification purposes. Colour photos and paintings of the Seychelles Fody start appearing in the 1970s.

Scientific citation

Foudia sechellarum Newton 1867, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, p.346, Marianne Island.

Meaning of names

sechellarum After the Seychelles Islands (Republic of Seychelles).

First English name

Seychelles Fody (Shelley 1905).

Alternate names



Edward Newton.

Date collected

12 Feb 1866

Locality collected

Marianne Island, Seychelles.

Type specimens

There are 3 syntype specimens in at Cambridge (Cambridge 27/Plo/6/f/1-3) where Alfred Newton was based.