Weaver Wednesday  - Discovery : Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver2016-07-20 (733)
Weaver Wednesday (species text)
Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver Plocepasser donaldsoni
IntroductionDonaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver was formally described by Richard Bowdler Sharpe, an English zoologist.
Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver was collected by Arthur Donaldson Smith, an American doctor, amateur big-game hunter, and explorer of Africa.
In in 1894-95 Donaldson Smith undertook an 18-month geological expedition in East Africa. The expedition started in Berbera, Somalia (then British Somaliland), passed through what was then Somaliland, southern Ethiopia and then to Lake Rudolph (now Lake Turkana) in Kenya. Donaldson Smith collected birds and many animals, particularly fish, spiders, scorpions, butterflies and beetles. The expedition left Lake Rudolf on 24 August 1895, and went SW, and crossed Marsabit Mt. On 13 September Donaldson Smith had a close encounter with an elephant, and the next day he collected the weaver specimen. He reached Lasamis on 16 September.
Donaldson Smith wrote a book about his travels, which can be downloaded here (295 Mb).
The first illustration of the Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-Weaver was of an adult, published by Sharpe (1901). The next illustration was a black and white photo of nests by Oberholser (1945).
Scientific citationPlocepasser donaldsoni Sharpe 1895a, Bull. Br. Orn. Club, 5, p.14 'Eastern Africa' = Lasamis, Kenya.
Meaning of namesdonaldsoni, Named after A. Donaldson-Smith (1864-1939) US zoologist and collector in Somaliland, 1894-1895.
First English nameDonaldson Sparrow-Weaver (Shelley 1905b).
Alternate namesDonaldson's Sparrow-Weaver, Somali Grey Sparrow Weaver.
CollectorArthur Donaldson Smith.
Date collected14 Sep 1895.
Locality collectedLasamis, Kenya.
Type specimensThe type is in the British Museum (BM 18126.96.36.199).