Weaver species category

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The Asian weavers

There are 5 Asian weaver species and they are all in the genus Ploceus. The Baya Weaver is the most widespread and common species. Two Asian weaver species have IUCN threat status as shown below. The Asian weavers are found in savanna, grassland and swampy areas - there are no Asian forest weaver species. The Asian weavers feed on seeds, insects and sometimes nectar. All five species lay plain white eggs.

Finn's Weaver (or Yellow Weaver) Ploceus megarhynchus - Vulnerable
Asian Golden Weaver Ploceus hypoxanthus - Near Threatened
Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus - Least Concern
Black-throated Weaver (or Bengal Weaver) Ploceus benghalensis - Least Concern
Streaked Weaver Ploceus manyar - Least Concern

Finn's Weaver
Asian Golden Weaver
Baya Weaver
Black-breasted Weaver
Streaked Weaver

Discovery of the Asian weavers

The 5 Asian weavers were described over 111 years, by 4 different authors, from 2 countries. To read more about the discovery of each of these species, click on the name.
Original name Author and year Type locality
Loxia benghalensis Linnaeus 1758 Bay of Bengal, India
Loxia philippina Linnaeus 1766 Pondicherry, India
Loxia hypoxantha Sparrman 1788 Sumatra, Indonesia
Fringilla Manyar Horsfield 1821 Java, Indonesia
Ploceus megarhynchus Hume 1869 "The Terai", Kaladingee, India

The first time each species was illustrated in western literature is shown below (for the Streaked Weaver there was an earlier line drawing of its head, but the first illustration of an adult is given here):

Black-throated Weaver
Black-throated Weaver,
from Albin 1738
Baya Weaver
Baya Weaver,
from Brisson 1760
Asian Golden Weaver
Asian Golden Weaver,
from Sparrman 1788
Streaked Weaver
Streaked Weaver,
from Reichenbach 1863
Finn's Weaver
Finn's Weaver,
from Finn (1901)

Nesting in Asian weavers

The 5 Asian weavers weave their nests as other true weavers do, and the male does most of the building, and females line the nests. Asian weavers may use mud and flowers in their nests, and various theories have been proposed to explain this - the most likely reason is that the male uses mud to attach flowers to the nest. Some differences in the nesting of the 5 species are listed in the table below.

Factor Asian Golden W Baya W Bengal W Finn's W Streaked W
Pair bond Monogamous Polygnous Polygnous Polygnous Monogamous
Colonial Small Colonial Single, small Colonial Colonial
Nest site Reeds in swamps Trees, esp palm
& acacia
Reeds, some trees Trees, reeds Reeds, trees
Nest tunnel no long long no short
Attachment supported pendant pendant (tree),
supported (reed)
supported supported
Mud used no rarely often rarely rarely

phown 5189
Baya Weaver colony - note pendant
(hanging) nests, with long
entrance tubes
phown 1255
Asian Golden Weaver colony - note supported
nests, no long entrance tubes

PHOtos of Weaver Nests in Asia

Mosaic of PHOWN records in southern Asia

PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) is a Virtual Museum, citizen science project of the Animal Demography Unit, to collect and monitor breeding distributions and colony sizes of weaver birds globally. As of 9 June 2016, there are 26 PHOWN records of Asian weavers, and 18 with colony size information. The statistics of colony sizes from PHOWN are as follows:

Species Min Mean Max n
Asian Golden Weaver 14 17.7 23 3
Baya Weaver 3 14.4 70 15

Many more records are needed to obtain better data on current breeding ranges, nest sites, and colony sizes of the Asian weavers. Please consider taking part in PHOWN - To take part, register and upload records at Virtual Museum (read the "How to" pdf for help).