Narrative of a name: red-headed or black-eared?2010-12-20 (87)
The Red-headed Weaver was first described in 1839 by a French collector, Lafresnaye. He used the name Ploceus melanotis which was pre-occupied (already used) and thus is invalid, even though this particular name is no longer in use. The first valid scientific name to be used was by Sundevall who described several specimens collected by the Swedish big game hunter, Johan August Wahlberg, in November 1843 at Mohapoani (North West Province).
All modern world checklists and the recent Handbook of Birds of the World Vol 15 use the correct name Anaplectes rubriceps. The name P. melanotis used in Roberts 7, and subsequent bird books using the species list in Roberts 7, is incorrect and authors of southern African bird books need to use the name Anaplectes rubriceps.
Read the full story here.
Left: The first published illustration of a Red-headed Weaver, by Lafresnaye (1839).