Weaver news

PHOWN at 1000

2011-08-05 (132)

The 1000th submission for PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) has just been made. It is the nest of a Cape Weaver colony near Villiersdorp, recorded during the CAR count last Saturday, and submitted by Robyn Kadis, Donella Young and Jeremy Bolton. You can view the nests in this colony here. One of the exciting recent records (PHOWN997) was the one featured in this picture, Taveta Golden Weaver, from Arusha, Tanzania, where atlaser Niall Perrins found a colony of 20 nests in a small reserve near the town in December last year.

PHOWN aims to map the breeding distributions of all weaver species globally. There are 117 species of weavers in total, and PHOWN now has photos of breeding colonies for 40 of them. Weavers occur in Africa, southern Asia and on Indian Ocean Islands. Besides South Africa, the submissions come from 14 countries: Angola (9 records), Bhutan (1), Botswana (1), Ethiopia (33), Ghana (3), Madagascar (5), Malawi (5), Namibia (67), Rwanda (4), Sao Tome (1), Tanzania (3), Uganda (6) and Zimbabwe (10). So far the map of the distribution of the Southern Masked Weaver breeding is based on 334 records and that for the Cape Weaver on 217. There is no limit to the number of records for a species, and long-term data will tell us, for example, if there have been increases or decreases in colony sizes, and expansions or contractions of breeding ranges. There is a fascinating set of summaries on the PHOWN website, which also gives the details of how to participate and how to submit photos through the ADU's "virtual museum" process.

PHOWN is one of seven active Virtual Museums run by the ADU – see the list of VMs at http://vmus.adu.org.za. The rate at which submissions are being made to all the VMs is increasing rapidly, partly as a result of the awareness created by the recent Digital Biodiversity Week. We hope that participation is sustained at this new level, and keeps on increasing.

Source: Les Underhill