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Weaver Wednesday [222] - Discovery [105]: Bates's Weaver

2016-09-14 (741)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Bates's Weaver Ploceus batesi

Bates's Weaver
Bates's Weaver, male (top) and female
figure from Ogilvie-Grant (1910)
Bates's Weaver
Bates's Weaver, male (top) and female,
figure from Bannerman (1949)
Bates's Weaver map
Bates's Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


Bates's Weaver was formally described by Richard Bowdler Sharpe, an English zoologist and ornithologist who worked as curator of the bird collection at the British Museum of natural history.

Bates's Weaver was collected by George Latimer Bates, an American naturalist.

Bates visited West Africa in 1895, making a living by farming. In 1905 he settled on the Ja River, Cameroon, calling his farm Bitye (after the Bulu pronunciation of his name). He collected many natural history specimens, especially birds, in his travels and sent many of these to the Natural History Museum in London.

Bates obtained the type specimen of Bates's Weaver, a female in subadult plumage near the Dja River on 29 January 1906, presumably near Bitye farm (as stated by Bannerman 1949a). On 17 Nov 1908 a second specimen, the first adult male, was collected at nearby Kumangola. In the following year four more birds were collected at Bitye and sent to the British Museum. Bates did not observe these rare weavers alive; they were all collected by local boys with bows and arrows (Bates 1930a).

Bates obtained the first Bates's Weaver specimen in January 1906, nearly a month before obtaining the Red-crowned Malimbe type, but Sharpe described the latter first.

Bates's Weaver was first illustrated by Ogilvie-Grant (1910), showing the female type and first male specimen. The next illustration to be published was a line drawing in Bannerman (1949), showing the male and female.

Scientific citation

Othyphantes batesi Sharpe 1908a, Ibis p.348, Dja River, Cameroon.

Meaning of names

batesi, Named after George Latimer Bates (1863-1940), a naturalist in tropical West Africa, 1895-1931.

First English name

Bates's Weaver-Finch (Sharpe 1910a).

Alternate names

Bates's Weaver-Finch.


George Latimer Bates.

Date collected

29 January 1906.

Locality collected

River Ja, Cameroon.

Type specimens

The type is in the Brisitsh Museum (BM 1908.5.25.104).