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Golden Palm Weaver Ploceus bojeri

IUCN: Least concern     Discovery: 068

Categories: golden, wetland, pest,
News items about species

Discovery

Golden Palm Weaver
Golden Palm Weaver head
figure from Sharpe (1890)
Golden Palm Weaver
Golden Palm Weaver head,
figure from Reichenow (1894)
Golden Palm Weaver
Golden Palm Weaver eggs,
figure from Ogilvie-Grant (1912)
Golden Palm Weaver map
Golden Palm Weaver distribution,
type locality circled in black

Introduction

The Golden Palm Weaver was formally described by Jean Louis Cabanis, a German ornithologist who was an assistant at, and later the director of, the Berlin University Museum. Cabanis based his description on 2 males and a female weaver collected at Mombasa, Kenya. These specimens were collected by Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken, German explorer of eastern Africa, on his expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Cabanis named this weaver after Wenzel Bojer, a Czech naturalist and collector in tropical Africa and Madagascar. Interestingly, a year after Cabanis named the Golden Palm Weaver, Hartlaub & Finsch (1870) named described this species based on weavers collected by Bojer much earlier (1824) on Zanzibar, Tanzania. Recent re-examination of Bojer's specimens in the Vienna museum indicates that they are more likely to be the Eastern Golden Weaver P. subaureus.

So, although the weaver specimens collected by Bojer are not Golden Palm Weavers, the scientific name is not an anomaly, as Cabanis named it after Bojer for his general collecting, and not for collecting the Golden Palm Weaver specifically.

The first illustration of the Golden Palm Weaver was of the head of a male weaver by Sharpe (1890). This was followed by a colour painting, again of the head of a male, by Reichenow (1894). The next illustration pertaining to the Golden Palm Weaver was of several eggs with variation in colouration (Ogilvie-Grant 1912), although this may include eggs of the Eastern Golden Weaver.

Scientific citation

Hyphantornis bojeri Cabanis 1869 In van der Decken's Reise. Vogel 3, p.32 Mombasa, eastern Kenya Colony.

Meaning of names

bojeri, Named after Wenzel Bojer (1800-1856).

First English name

Bojer's Weaver-bird (Gurney 1881).

Alternate names

Bojer's Weaver, Mombasa Golden Weaver.

Collector

Baron Karl Klaus von der Decken.

Date collected

7 and 23 Sept 1862.

Locality collected

Mombasa, Kenya.

Type specimens

There is a type specimen in the Berlin Museum (ZMB_19015).

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 [185] - Discovery [68]: Golden Palm Weaver on 2015-12-30

1. Basic biology

Golden Palm Weaver
Golden Palm Weaver, adult male
Golden Palm Weaver
Golden Palm Weaver, adult female
Identification. The Golden Palm Weaver is a common weaver of the coastal palms in East Africa. The black eye is in striking contrast to the orange (male) or yellow (female) head. The adult male has the head uniform orange, shading to a chestnut patch on the lower throat - in the similar male Eastern Golden Weaver the orange face pales onto the ear-coverts and sides of the neck. The Golden Palm Weaver shows no seasonal change in plumage. The subadult male has a yellow head with developing orange on the nape and lower throat - the similar Taveta Golden Weaver differs in having a well-defined occipital crescent and rufous upper breast, and their ranges do not overlap. The female Golden Palm Weaver is entirely yellow below (the female Eastern Golden has a white belly) and the back is indistinctly streaked (heavily streaked in Taveta Golden Weaver).

Golden Palm Weaver map

Distribution. The Golden Palm Weaver is found on the East African coast, and inland, from Kenya to Ethiopia (see map right, based on Birds of Africa). There are few records from Ethiopia, near the border with Somalia. In Somalia, it occurs on the Jubba and Shabeele Rivers and in Boni Forest. In Kenya it is found on the coast and inland along the Tana River, with a separate localized inland population. Records from Tanzania are now considered misidentifications and the species has been deleted from the Tanzanian list. No subspecies of the Golden Palm Weaver are recognised.

Habitat. The Golden Palm Weaver inhabits palm savanna on the coast, as well as riverine habitats and it extends into savanna in areas below 1200 m and with more than 500 mm annual rainfall inland.

Food. Food consists of seeds and insects. The Golden Palm Weaver is gregarious and roosts in flocks when not breeding.

Golden Palm Weaver
Golden Palm Weaver, male displaying

Breeding. The Golden Palm Weaver is colonial, and suspected to be polygynous. It may occur in mixed colonies with Eastern Golden Weavers or with Village Weavers P. cucullatus. The male displays while hanging below the nest entrance, with his wings spread vertically, but wings usually move very little; the head may be bowed slowly.

Golden Palm Weaver
Golden Palm Weaver, male at nest

The nest is spherical with no entrance tube. The male weaves the outer shell of long grass strips or strips from palm fronds and builds a complete inner shell of short grass strips. The female lines accepted nests with leaf fragments and fine grass heads. Nests are usually suspended under palm fronds or over water in thorn trees.

Golden Palm Weaver
Golden Palm Weaver, nests in small palm

Clutch size is 2. The eggs are green, mottled with grey or reddish markings; sometimes eggs are white, overlaid with fawn. The introduced House Crow Corvus splendens raids colonies for eggs, young and adults in Mombasa.

The above is based on Weaver Wednesday, a weekly series about weaver species.
This species text first appeared as Weaver Wednesday [45]: Golden Palm Weaver on 2013-04-24

2. Breeding facts

Pair bond
Probably polygynous
Breeding season
in all months (peaks Oct and Jan) in Kenya, but May-Oct in Mombasa; May-Jul in Somalia, and Jun and Dec-Apr in Tanzania
Nest site
suspended low (less than 2 m) over water from tree branch, or attached 1.5-4 m above ground to ta1l grass or bush, often on underside of palm frond and then sometimes more than 10 m above ground; also built in bulruhes (Typha), bamboos and, less often, in Phragmites reeds
Nest building
woven by male, lined by female
Colony size
Colonial
Clutch size
2 eggs
Egg colour
sea-green with grey or reddish mottling, or white overlaid with fawn-brown
Egg size
average size of twelve eggs 21.1 x 14.3 mm (Kenya)
Incubation
no information
Chicks and nestling period
no information

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

3. Photos of Weaver Nests


Vm 19204

Vm 13815

Vm 5684

Vm 2610

Vm 2416

Vm 2415

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

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