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Comoro Fody Foudia eminentissima

IUCN: Least concern     Discovery: 057

Categories: island, Foudia, nectar,
News items about species

Discovery

Comoro Fody
Comoro Fody,
figure from Verreaux (1867)
Comoro Fody
Comoro Fody (algondae), figure
from Pollen (1868), top: immature
male, lower: adult male
Comoro Fody map
Comoro Fody
distribution, type locality circled

Introduction

The Comoro Fody was formally described by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a French biologist and ornithologist. Around 1849 Bonaparte began work on preparing a classification of all the birds in the world, visiting museums across Europe to study the collections. In 1850, he published the first volume of his Conspectus Generum Avium which included 3 weavers. Bonaparte studied the type specimen of the Comoro Fody in the Paris Museum.

The Comoro Fody was collected by Loius Rosseau. Rousseau travelled the western Indian Ocean on the French naval corvettes Prevoyante and Dordogne in 1839-1841. The Prevoyante visited Mayotte in 1840 and 1841 and the Dordogne visited Mayotte and Zanzibar at least in 1840 (Cheke 2011). The Comoro Fody may have been introduced to Zanzibar, and then collected there by Rousseau, or Rousseau mis-labelled his specimen.

The Comoro Fody differs slightly in measurements and plumage on the different islands of the Comores, and Benson (1960) showed that the type specimen matches the subspecies on Moheli Island.

The first illustration of a Comoro Fody is by Verreaux (1867) of the nominate subspecies. The next illustration was published the following year by Pollen (1868), but of subspecies algondae. Reichenbach (1863) mentioned the species, and provided an English name, but did not illustrate it.

Scientific citation

Foudia eminentissimus Bonaparte 1850 Consp. Gen. Av., 1, p.446 "Zanzibar", error for Mohe'li Island, fide Benson (1960, Ibis, 103b, p.101).

Meaning of names

eminentissima - Latin. eminentissimus, very conspicuous, outstanding (super. of eminens, prominent).

First English name

The Zanzibar Foudi (Reichenbach 1863).

Alternate names

Grand Comoro Fody, Johanna Fody, Mayotte Fody, Red Forest Fody, Red-headed Fody, Red-headed Forest Fody.

Collector

Loius Rosseau.

Date collected

1840 - 1841.

Locality collected

Zanzibar = Moheli Island, Comores.

Type specimens

The type specimen is in the Paris Museum.

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 [174] - Discovery [57]: Comoro Fody on 2015-10-14

1. Basic biology

Comoro Fody
Comoro Fody male,
figure from Cabanis 1869
Identification. The Comoro Fody, or Red-headed Forest Fody, Foudia eminentissima breeding male has a red head, breast and rump. It is distinguished from the introduced Madagascar Fody by having larger and longer bills, and clearer wing bars.

Distribution. The Comoro Fody is found on the Comoro Islands (see map below, based on Birds of the Malagasy region). There are 4 subspecies, found on different islands:
F. e. eminentissima on Moheli (Mwali) Island (see red on map).
F. e. consobrina, on Grand Comoro (Njazidja) Island (see yellow on map). This race is smaller and more slender-billed than the nominate, greyer below, and overall more orange than red.
F. e. anjuanensis , on Anjouan (Ndzuani) Island (see green on map). This race is orange on the head and rump, the orange often extending to the belly, and has an orange wash on the mantle.
F. e. algondae , on Mayotte (Maore) Island (see orange on map). This race is smaller than the nominate, and dorsally is greener and plain-coloured.
These races may represent more than one species. The Aldabra Fody is no longer considered a race of this species. Comoro Fody  map

Habitat. The Comoro Fody inhabits well wooded habitats and forested areas. On Mayotte it is not found in intact stands of evergreen forest. On Grand Comoro, Mohéli and Mayotte it is found close to sea-level.

Food. The diet of the Comoro Fody is mainly insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, and ant pupae. The Comoro Fody also feeds on fruit and spiders.

Breeding. The Comoro Fody is probably monogamous. It is territorial, and males sing from tree tops in their territories. The nest is globular with a side entrance near the top. There is usually a porch above the entrance. Nests may have a ceiling of moss.

The eggs (clutch of 3) are pale blue, with a few fine spots. Possible nest predators include the exotic black rat, lemurs, and raptors.

The above is based on Weaver Wednesday, a weekly series about weaver species.
This species text first appeared as Weaver Wednesday [114]: Comoro Fody on 2014-08-20

2. Breeding facts

Pair bond
Monogamous
Breeding season
Oct-Mar on Mayotte
Nest site
suspended rarely 1 m above ground, most often higher than 10 m
Nest building
Male starts nest and, once female has accepted it, both sexes build, and female may complete the structure with little male participation
Colony size
No information
Clutch size
2-3 eggs
Egg colour
pale blue-green, occasionally few black specks
Egg size
No information
Incubation
incubation by female only, period 13-16 days
Chicks and nestling period
chicks fed by both parents, male usually began feeding only after 3 days, nestling period 15-18 days

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

3. Photos of Weaver Nests

No records yet - be the first to submit a PHOWN record!
See PHOWN summary page 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

Still coming

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 Still coming