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Weaver Wednesday [217] - Discovery [100]: Mountain Marsh Widowbird

2016-08-10 (736)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Mountain Marsh Widowbird Euplectes psammocromius

Mountain Marsh Widowbird
Mountain Marsh Widowbird adult
figure from Reichenow (1902)
Mountain Marsh Widowbird
Mountain Marsh Widowbird adult
figure from Mackworth (1955)
Mountain Marsh Widowbird map
Mountain Marsh Widowbird
distribution, type locality circled


The Mountain Marsh Widowbird was formally described by Anton Reichenow, a German ornithologist and herpetologist.

The Mountain Marsh Widowbird was collected by Friedrich Fulleborn, a Prussian physician.

Fulleborn studied medicine and natural sciences in Berlin. From 1896 onward, he was a military physician assigned to the Schutztruppe in German East Africa (Tanzania). In 1898-1900 he participated in the Nyassa- and Kingagebirgs Expedition to southern Tanzania, where he conducted anthropological and ethnographic research. He also collected bird specimens, which he sent to Berlin. In 1899 he collected birds in the region north of Lake Malawi (but in Tanzania), a region not explored ornithologically until then. Fulleborn found the type of the Mountain Marsh Widowbird at Tandala in Ukinga, Tanzania.

The first illustration of the Mountain Marsh Widowbird was of an adult male, published by Reichenow (1902). The next illustrations were published much later, from the 1980s onwards.

Scientific citation

Penthetria psammocromia Reichenow 1900b, Orn. Monatsb. 8 p.39, Tandala in Ukinga, Tukuyu district, south-western Tanganyika.

Meaning of names

psammocromius, Greek: Psammos, sand; khroma, complexion or colour; reference to its yellow shoulder patch.

First English name

Fulleborn's Marsh Whydah (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Buff-shouldered Widowbird, Montane Marsh Widowbird, Montane Widowbird, Mountain Marsh Whydah, Nyasa Marsh-Whydah.


Friedrich Fulleborn.

Date collected

2 May 1899.

Locality collected

Tandala in Ukinga, Tanzania.

Type specimens

The type is in the Berlin Museum (ZMB_2000.8146).