PHOWN Newsletter 5, 4 Jan 2016

PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) has been running for 5.5 years and, thanks to your participation, has reached over 18600 records!
fig 1
Southern Masked Weaver male,
species with most PHOWN records


87 weaver species of the total 117 global species have at least 1 PHOWN record (ie 74%). The outstanding species are generally range restricted species, or very rare species. But there are a few weaver species where it would be relatively easy for a traveller to obtain a photo of its nest, eg Bertram's Weaver in Malawi. See a list of weavers without PHOWN records here.

Species with over 1000 PHOWN records are: Southern Masked Weaver (6682), Sociable Weaver (2795), Cape Weaver (2189), Village Weaver (1684), and White-browed Sparrow-Weaver (1471).

A useful resource are the weaver species pages. Click on a species on this list to see a summary of its biology (Weaver Wednesday series 1), and other sections. The current Weaver Wednesday series covers the history of discovery for each weaver species, in sequence of its formal description, and about half the species have been featured. The species pages also have links to interesting summaries about weavers under the title "Category".


fig 1
Red-headed Finch in Cape Weaver nest

In addition to mapping the breeding distributions of weavers, PHOWN also maps ecological interactions relating to weaver nests. The interaction categories are:
Nest use - other species breeding or roosting in weaver nests
Nest associations - weavers and raptors or waterbirds nesting together
Predation - predation on weaver nests by raptors or other animals
Brood parasitism - by the Diederik Cuckoo.

For instance, see here for PHOWN records of the African harrier-Hawk (Gymnogene) robbing weaver nests, or here to see interactions involving the Southern Masked Weaver - click on the red marker on the map and you will see a Boomslang raiding a nest. Change the species in the drop-dwon menu to see other examples.

New insights

The PHOWN database is providing new insights into weaver breeding biology. In particular, statistics on colony sizes are now available for many species. PHOWN has provided new species examples of Nest use and Nest associations.


The top participants since the start of the project are: Pieter Cronje (8355), Dieter Oschadleus (2897), Amour McCarthy (1415), Alex Zaloumis (798), Robert Thomson (652), Tony Archer (434). See a full list of participants here. Click on your name on this list to see a summary of your records.


Are there enough records in PHOWN? No! Please continue submitting records for PHOWN and the other ADU Virtual Museum projects (old records also very welcome)!

For colonies you visit regularly, please submit repeat records. Please submit normal records but also look out for interaction records as mentioned above.

Thanks for your participation!

Weavers webpage
Email: weavers4africa [at]