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Weaver Wednesday [211] - Discovery [94]: Aldabra Fody

2016-06-29 (728)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Aldabra Fody Foudia aldabrana

Aldabra Fody
Aldabra Fody bill shape,
figure from Moreau (1960)
Aldabra Fody
Aldabra Fody male,
figure from Watson (1963)
Aldabra Fody map
Aldabra Fody
distribution, type locality circled


The Aldabra Fody was formally described by Robert Ridgway, an American ornithologist specializing in systematics, describing a large number of new species, and curator of birds at the United States National Museum.

The Aldabra Fody was collected by William Louis Abbott, an American medical doctor, explorer, ornithologist and field naturalist. He complied many collections of biological specimens from around the world, especially from southeast Asia, and was a significant financial supporter of the United States National Museum collecting expeditions.

Dr. Abbott visited the inner Seychelles from March to May 1890. He then sailed to Aldabra, Assumption, the Amirantes, Ile Glorieuse, and other islands northwest of Madagascar, from July 1892 to January 1893, collecting 205 specimens on these islands.

He wrote a letter from Mahe, Seychelles, in March 1893: "Aldabra proved quite interesting. I renmined there three and a half months, and obtained specimens of all resident species. There are fourteen land birds resident, and I picked up six others that were evidently 'passers-by.' Also obtained nests and eggs of most of them."

Abbott wrote the following about the Aldabra Fody: "A very common species in Aldabra. Nesting in November, December, and January. Builds in casuarina trees, generally near the seashore. Nest made of casuarina needles, somewhat loosely constructed, oval in form, roofed over, with the entrance in the side and suspended from the end of a branch. Number of eggs four. The male assists in the construction of the nest, but not in incubation (?). These birds are very fond of the seeds of the casuarina tree and are also destructive to unripe maize. They are, however, apparently only able to reach the latter after the husks have been gnawed through by rats. They are very tame and familiar, coming in flocks to feed on the crumbs and scraps about the houses."

The first illustration including the Aldabra Fody was of the bill shapes of fodies, published by Moreau (1960), many decades after the species was first described. The next illustration was a line drawing of the male in Watson (1963).

Scientific citation

Foudia aldabrana Ridgway 1893a, Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus., 16, p.258, Aldabra Island.

Meaning of names

aldabranus, Named after the Aldabra Atoll in the Indian Ocean.

First English name

Aldabra Fody (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Cardinal, Red-headed Forest Fody, Serin, Toq Toq.


William Louis Abbott.

Date collected

Oct 1892.

Locality collected

Aldabra Island.

Type specimens

Five types are in the US National Museum.