Weaver Wednesday  - Discovery : Marsh Widowbird2016-02-17 (700)
Weaver Wednesday (species text)
Marsh Widowbird Euplectes hartlaubi
IntroductionThe Marsh Widowbird was formally described by Jose Vicente Barbosa du Bocage, a Portuguese zoologist and politician. He was curator of the Lisbon Museum, and described several other weavers.
The Marsh Widowbird was collected by Jose Alberto de Oliveira Anchieta, a Portuguese explorer and naturalist, who collected a large number of birds in Angola. In 1867 the Portuguese government hired Anchieta as a naturalist but probably also as a secret agent and informer in the Caconda region of Angola. Anchieta lived in Caconda, explored the area and sent many specimens and letters to his scientific correspondents in Lisbon. Anchieta discovered the Marsh Widowbird near Caconda, and sent a single male specimen to the Lisbon Museum. Bocage measured the tail as 160 mm, while tail length in the nominate subspecies is usually 163-201 mm.
The first illustration of the Marsh Widowbird was published in Delacour (1933). The second illustration was published by Bannerman (1949), as a black and white sketch, but also showing the female and non-breeding male.
Scientific citationPenthetria hartlaubi Bocage 1878 Jorn. Sci. Math. Phys. Nat. Lisboa, 6, p.259 Caconda, Angola.
Meaning of nameshartlaubi, After Karl Johann Gustav Hartlaub (1814-1900) German ornithologist and author.
First English nameHartlaub's Widow Bird (Layard 1884).
Alternate namesHartlaub's Marsh Whydah, Hartlaub's Marsh Widowbird, Marsh Whydah, Uganda Marsh Whydah.
CollectorJose de Anchieta.
Date collectedBefore 1878.
Locality collectedCaconda, Angola.
Type specimensThe type specimen was in the Museum of Lisbon, before a fire destroyed the museum.