Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [213] - Discovery [96]: Red-bellied Malimbe

2016-07-13 (732)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Red-bellied Malimbe Malimbus erythrogaster

Red-bellied Malimbe
Red-bellied Malimbe female (L), male(R),
figure from Reichenow (1896)
Red-bellied Malimbe
Red-bellied Malimbe male,
figure from Ogilvie-Grant (1910)
Red-bellied Malimbe map
Red-bellied Malimbe
distribution, type locality circled


The Red-bellied Malimbe was formally described by Anton Reichenow, a German ornithologist and herpetologist.

The Red-bellied Malimbe was collected by Georg August Zenker, a German zoologist and botanist.

In 1886 Zenker accompanied Italian explorers on an expedition to the lower reaches of the Congo River, where he then settled on a plantation in Gabon. The company had to give up the plantation in 1889, so the company owner made Zenker head of the research station at Yaounde in the interior of Cameroon - Zenker remained here from 1889-1895.

Zenker collected 5000 plant specimens and a number of birds which were sent to the Berlin Museum. Zenker collected two Red-bellied Malimbes, a male and a female, sometime between 1889 and 1893, probably closer to 1893. The types are in the Berlin Museum. Zenker also collected the Yellow-capped Weaver in the same time period but probably before the Red-bellied Malimbe as the weaver was described first.

The first illustration of the Red-bellied Malimbe was of the type male and female, published by Reichenow (1896). The next illustration was by Ogilvie-Grant 1910 of the male.

Scientific citation

Malimbus erythrogaster Reichenow 1893c, Orn. Monatsb., 1, p.205, Jaunde, Cameroon.

Meaning of names

erythrogaster, Greek: Eruthros, red; gaster, the belly.

First English name

Red-breasted Malimbe (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Red-bellied Weaver, Red-breasted Malimbe, Semliki Red-bellied Malimbe.


Georg August Zenker.

Date collected

Between 1889-1893.

Locality collected

Jaunde, Cameroon.

Type specimens

The types are in the Berlin Museum (ZMB_31798, ZMB_31799).