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Slender-billed Weaver Ploceus pelzelni
PHOWN priorities: none yet
No of records in PHOWN for this species: 11
Colony sizeColony size for this species in PHOWN (min - mean - max, sample size) and published data:
|PHOWN||Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 15|
|1 - 8.3 - 30 (n=4)|
The Slender-billed Weaver Ploceus pelzelni is a small weaver with a large black mask from the forecrown through the face to the throat, ending in a point on the breast (see photo far right). The female lacks the black and has the top of the head green and a black bill (see photo right). The juvenile is similar to the female but duller and with a pale bill. The slender bill and swamp habitat distinguish it in all stages from the similar Little Weaver P. luteolus, a savanna species with a thicker bill. The ranges of these two similar species are disjoint in West Africa, but overlap around Lake Victoria.
Two subspecies of the Slender-billed Weaver are recognised (see map left, based on Birds of Africa):
The Slender-billed Weaver is restricted to wetland areas for breeding, foraging in trees and bushes in adjoining habitats. In western Africa it inhabits mangroves, coastal lagoons, marshlands and ricefields. In southern DRC it occurs in ambatch thickets bordering lakes, and also in gardens and hedges in urban areas. It usually occurs below 1700 m but up to 2350 m in the Ruwenzoris. The Slender-billed Weaver is found singly or in pairs or in flocks.
It feeds mainly on insects, including small caterpillars and ants. Seeds have also been recorded. It forages at all levels in trees. It is agile and often hangs upside down when foraging. The foot structure shows adaptations to a papyrus habitat.
The Slender-billed Weaver is a monogamous, colonial nester. Colonies are usually in groups of less than 20 nests, but sometimes up to 50, or single nests at about 12 m apart. It may breed alongside mixed colonies of other weaver species. The nest is ball-shaped, tightly woven, without an entrance tunnel or with a very short tunnel, with a porch over the side-top entrance. The nest is made of grass strips or papyrus leaf, and some nests include dead pieces of vine stem. There is no ceiling as in the nests of some weavers. During incubation a sparse lining of very fine strips of grass, palm leaves, feathers or seed-heads may be added.
The nest is attached to papyrus heads, or in trees (thorny twigs or small palms) at a height of 1.5-9m (usually about 3m) above the ground. The nest is built by the male, with the female sometimes helping. Sometimes two nests are built on the same stem, but only one is occupied. Clutch size is 2-3. The eggs are pure white or sometimes pinkish, rarely with fine spots. In Kisangani it breeds all year, but peaks in September. It is parasitized by cuckoos, most likely the Diderick Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius. Nests have been robbed by Pied Crows Corvus alba and Senegal Coucals Centropus senegalensis.
The Slender-billed Weaver has 8 PHOWN records, representing both subspecies, but many more PHOWN records are needed for this species (see PHOWN summary). Also look at old nests which may be used by Dusky-blue Flycatchers Muscicapa comitata. Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.
PHOWN summary Previous Wedn: Southern Red Bishop Full weaver species list
Nest siteType of nest site for this species in PHOWN:
|reed - 1|
tree - 10
PHOWN Records per month for this species
|Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 15||Jul-Aug in Ghana, Jun-Sept in Togo, May-Oct in Nigeria, Jan-Feb, Apr-Jun and Aug-Nov in Cameroon, May in Gabon; in DRCongo, Aug-Sept in NE, Jun-Jul in C region, Nov-Jan in S, possibly in both rainy seasons in Upemba, Oct-Nov and again Jan-Mar, while urban colony at Kisangani nesting all year, with Sept peak; Mar-Oct (mainly Apr-May in Uganda, Mar-Apr in Angola and Feb in Zambia|
Figure above right: breeding seasonality shown as records per month (if available), where months are numbered from January where January=1 etc.
The records are grouped into 6 regions: Safr=southern Africa, Cafr=central Africa, Wafr=western Africa, Eafr=eastern Africa, Asia=southern Asia, IO=Indian Ocean islands
Read more about these figures here.
Google map of records for this species (you may need to zoom out to see all records)
Yellow areas show distribution of the species; for species with small ranges you need to zoom in at the correct area to see the range. Read more about these maps here.
Published breeding informationBreeding information based on Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 15.
Monogamous, but unclear if long-term pair-bond
Jul-Aug in Ghana, Jun-Sept in Togo, May-Oct in Nigeria, Jan-Feb, Apr-Jun and Aug-Nov in Cameroon, May in Gabon; in DRCongo, Aug-Sept in NE, Jun-Jul in C region, Nov-Jan in S, possibly in both rainy seasons in Upemba, Oct-Nov and again Jan-Mar, while urban colony at Kisangani nesting all year, with Sept peak; Mar-Oct (mainly Apr-May in Uganda, Mar-Apr in Angola and Feb in Zambia
sited 1.5-9 m (usually c. 3 m) above groud or over water and attached to papyrus heads, palm frond or pendulous thorny branch
built by male, female sometimes assisting
Colonial nester, usually fewer than 20 nests in colony, rarely up to 50; also single nests c. 12 m apart
pure white, sometimes pinkish, rarely with fine dark spots
average size 17.5 x 13.5 mm (locality not stated)
incubation either by female alone or by both sexes, period c. 15 days
chicks fed by both male md female, no information on duration of nestling period
Thumb-nails of most recent PHOWN records
Click on one to see its full record
List of all PHOWN records for this species
Click on one to see its full record
853, Uganda, shores of L. Victoria at a small fishing-boat haul-out between Entebbe and Mabamba swamp - 0 deg. 05\\\\\\\' 28.01\\\\\\\" N, 32 deg 22\\\\\\\' 28.71\\\\\\\" E Elev., Bishop, David
2019, Gabon, near Port-Gentil, Passavy G
2020, Gabon, near Port-Gentil, Passavy G
2021, Gabon, near Port-Gentil, Passavy G
2022, Gabon, near Port-Gentil, Passavy G
2485, Rwanda, Near Rwinkwavu., Anderson Jason
4210, Tanzania, Rubondo Island National Park, Tanapa Bandas, Oliver, Paul
4211, Tanzania, Rubondo Island National Park, camp staff area , Oliver, Paul
7283, Cameroon, Mile 6 Beach : a swamp , Monnoyeur Gilles
7285, Cameroon, West of Idenau some bridges in pall-nut tree planatation., Monnoyeur Gilles
9109, Democratic Republic of Congo, reeds along the Luvua river, north corner of lake Mweru, de Cauwer, Richard
All PHOWN news items relating to this speciesThe headers below refer to Weaver News items featuring PHOWN and this species. Click on a header to see the News item, which includes the full news item. (The number in brackets is the date that the news item appeared on Weaver Watch).
Weaver Wednesday : Slender-billed Weaver (2013-03-27)