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Asian Golden Weaver Ploceus hypoxanthus

IUCN: Near threatened     Discovery: 014

Categories: Asian, IUCN,
News items about species

Discovery

Asian Golden Weaver
Asian Golden Weaver,
figure from Sparrman 1788
Asian Golden Weaver
Sparrman, author
of the Asian Golden Weaver,
figure from wikipedia
Asian Golden Weaver map
Asian Golden Weaver distribution,
type locality circled

Introduction

The Asian Golden Weaver was formally named by Anders Erikson Sparrman, a Swedish naturalist. Although Sparrman sailed around the world with James Cook, starting from Cape Town, on Cook's second expedition to the Pacific (1772-1775), they did not visit islands as far north as Sumatra. After the voyage Sparrman returned to Cape Town in July 1775 and practiced medicine. In 1776 he returned to Sweden and published a Catalogue of the Museum Carlsonianum (1786-89), in which he described many of the specimens he had collected in South Africa and the South Pacific, some of which were new to science. He wrote a Latin description of the Asian Golden Weaver.

Sparrman described and painted the Asian Golden Weaver, and listed the collector as Claes Fredrik Hornstedt, a Swedish naturalist.

Hornstedt visited Batavia [=Jakarta] in Java from July 1783 to July 1784. He returned to Sweden with a large collection of natural history objects. In Sweden he replaced Sparrman as curator of the museum of the Royal Academy of Sciences (KVA), Stockholm, in 1787-88 (Rookmaaker 1989). Rookmaaker suggested that Hornstedt did not visit Sumatra, but received specimens from local collectors, even though he presents no evidence of this and Sumatra is relatively close to the adjacent island of Java.

Latham (1801) noted that a bird was brought alive from Sumatra and kept by Count Carlson (in Museum Carlsonianum).

Scientific citation

Loxia hypoxantha Sparrman 1788 Mus. Carls., fasc., 3, p.71 Sumatra.

Meaning of names

hypoxanthus (Greek) = hupo-, beneath; xanthos, golden or yellow [ie underparts golden].

First English name

Sumatran Grosbeak (Latham 1801).

Alternate names

None.

Collector

Claes Fredrik Hornstedt.

Date collected

1783-84, when Hornstedt lived in Java.

Locality collected

Sumatra.

Type specimens

No type specimens known to survive, but the painting of Sparrman serves as a type.

The above is based on Weaver Wednesday 2, a weekly series about the discovery of each weaver species.
This species text first appeared as Weaver Wednesday [131] - Discovery [14]: Asian Golden Weaver on 2014-12-17

1. Basic biology

Asian Golden Weaver
Asian Golden Weaver,
adult male, figure from wikipedia
Asian Golden Weaver
Asian Golden Weaver,
adult female, figure from wikipedia

Identification. The Asian Golden Weaver Ploceus hypoxanthus is a Near Threatened species. The breeding male is generally bright yellow with a black mask (diagnostic in Asia). Females, non-breeding males and young birds are dull coloured and difficult to distinguish from the Baya Weaver, but has a thicker bill.

Distribution. There are two subspecies of the Asian Golden Weaver, with disjunct distributions (see map left, based on Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 15:
P. h. hypoxanthus, found in Indonesia: eastern Sumatra and western Java (see red on map).
P. h. hymenaicus, found in Myanmar (including Tenasserim), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and southern Vietnam (see blue on map). This subspecies has the feathers of the mantle fringed with a more greenish yellow, and has the upper breast more strongly suffused with raw sienna.

Asian Golden Weaver map

The Asian Golden Weaver was formerly more widespread in Sumatra and Java, but is now localized and uncommon. Its population is showing a continued decline throughout its range as wetlands are converted to agriculture. There is also direct persecution and capture of these weavers for the bird trade, and colonies are often robbed and destroyed by people. The oldest bird is 11 years (see here).

Habitat. The natural habitats of the Asian Golden Weaver are subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, swamps, and arable land.

Food. The Asian Golden Weaver feeds mainly on seeds, and even during breeding insects were only 7% of their diet.

Breeding. The Asian Golden Weaver is apparently monogamous, and perhaps occasionally polygynous. It breeds in small colonies. The nest is initially built by the male, and completed with assistance of the female. The nest is a rounded structure with a side entrance, and woven from thin strips of grass or palm leaves. Nests are firmly attached to vegetation over water or very swampy ground, often less than 1m above the surface, usually in reeds or bulrushes. Sometimes nests are placed in trees or shrubs, and then higher than 2 m above the ground. There are several records of nests built close to hornet nests or near biting ants.

phown 1255
Asian Golden Weaver female in nest
phown 1255
Asian Golden Weaver colony with males

The clutch is 2 eggs, rarely 3. Incubation seems to be by the female only. Chicks are fed mainly by female (most often by regurgitation), and rarely by the male. There is no infomation on incubation and nestling periods.

The above is based on Weaver Wednesday, a weekly series about weaver species.
This species text first appeared as Weaver Wednesday [39]: Asian Golden Weaver on 2013-03-13

2. Breeding facts

Pair bond
Apparently monogmous, perhaps occasionally polygynous
Breeding season
Jul in Myanmar, Jul-Sept in Thailand, Aug in Laos and Jan-Jun in Java
Nest site
strongly attached to vegetation over water or very swampy ground, often less than 1 m above surface, usually in reeds or bulrushes (Typha), less commonly in tree or shrub and then higher than 2 m above ground
Nest building
built initially by male, completed with assistance of female
Colony size
small colonies
Clutch size
2 eggs, rarely 3
Egg colour
greyish-white, sometimes with a few spots
Egg size
average size of eleven eggs 18 x 13.5 mm (Java)
Incubation
incubation apparently by female only
Chicks and nestling period
chicks fed primarily by female (most often by regurgitation), only occasionally by male

Breeding information based on Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 15.

3. Photos of Weaver Nests


Vm 5292

Vm 1255

Vm 1254

Vm 1253

Thumb-nails of most recent PHOWN records - click on one to see its full record
See all PHOWN records for this species here.

PHOWN (Photos of Weaver Nests) provides valuable info on breeding distribution and colony sizes of weavers.
You can contribute by registering and submitting photos at Virtual Museum webpage.

4. Breeding distribution

Google map showing distribution (For species with small ranges you need to zoom in at the correct area to see the range):
yellow blob - range of weaver species; read more about this here.
- PHOWN records with photos
- PHOWN records with no photos (Nest Record Cards, other records)
- Birdpix records
- comments on out of range records, or interesting records
- type locality
CLICK on the marker on the map to see individual record details.

5. Range changes

Not South African species

The above is based on Weaver Wednesday 3, a weekly series about range changes in South African weaver species.
This species text first appeared as n/a