Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [220] - Discovery [103]: Black-chinned Weaver

2016-08-31 (739)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Black-chinned Weaver Ploceus nigrimentus

Black-chinned Weaver
Black-chinned Weaver
figure from Mackworth (1963)
Black-chinned Weaver
Strange Waver (L), Black-chinned
Weaver female (mid), Brown-capped
Weaver (R), figure from Harrison (1965)
Black-chinned Weaver map
Black-chinned Weaver
distribution, type locality circled
(blue dot - new range)


The Black-chinned Weaver was formally described by Anton Reichenow, a German ornithologist and herpetologist.

The Black-chinned Weaver was collected by Jose Alberto de Oliveira Anchieta, a Portuguese explorer and naturalist.

Anchieta moved to Angola with his family, in 1865. He lived in the region of Benguela, establishing a laboratory inside the ruins of a church, and exploring and collecting animals. In 1867, the Portuguese government hired him as a naturalist, but probably also as a secret agent in the Caconda region of Angola. He lived there, researching, exploring and sending many specimens and letters to his scientific correspondents in Lisbon, mainly J.V. Barboza du Bocage.

Unfortunately most of the museum specimens have disappeared, as well as his many letters to Bocage, in a catastrophic fire in the Lisbon Museum in 1978. Anchieta collected 25 new species of mammals, 46 birds and 46 amphibians and ophidians. He did not write any scientific papers, but left this to his correspondents in Lisbon. Many of the species of birds, amphibians, lizards, snakes, fishes and mammals were named after Anchieta.

Anchieta collected two female specimens of the Black-chinned Weaver, but the collection dates are unknown.

The Black-chinned Weaver was first described in 1894 by Jose Vicente Barbosa du Bocage, a Portuguese zoologist and politician. He was curator of the Lisbon Museum. However, Bocage did not realise that he used an invalid name. Several years later, Reichenow realised this when he was working on his book on African birds. Reichenow provided a new name.

The Black-chinned Weaver was first illustrated by Mackworth (1963), many decades after it was first described. The next illustration to be published was a line drawing in Harrison (1965), comparing the basic plumage patterns of several weavers.

Scientific citation

Ploceus nigrimentus Reichenow 1904a, Vögel Afrikas 3 p.39, Galanga, Benguella, Angola.

Meaning of names

nigrimentus, Latin: niger, black; mentum, the chin.

First English name

Black-chinned Weaver (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Angola Weaver.


Jose Alberto de Oliveira Anchieta.

Date collected

Between 1866-1895.

Locality collected

Galanga, Benguella, Angola.

Type specimens

The types were in the Lisbon Museum, but were lost in a fire.