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Weaver Wednesday [56]: Principe Golden Weaver

2013-07-10 (388)

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Principe Golden Weaver

Principe Golden Weaver

The Principe Golden Weaver Ploceus princeps is restricted to the island of Principe in the Gulf of Guinea. It is a large yellow, heavy-billed weaver. The male has an orange-chestnut head and a conspicuous yellow eye. The female is yellowish with an olive head, horn bill and also has a yellow eye. Juveniles have brown eyes. There are no other weaver species on Principe.

The Principe Golden Weaver is one of the commonest birds on Principe Island, found throughout the island (see light green on map below). Having a restricted global range, no subspecies are recognised. It is often the first endemic bird seen by visitors to the island. Principe Golden Weaver map

The Principe Golden Weaver is abundant in all habitats and has adapted to degraded habitats; it occurs in well-timbered areas, including natural forest, secondary forest, plantations, villages and gardens, and open grassland areas. It may be mainly insectivorous, but has a varied diet which includes beetles, seeds, berries, the fruit of bananas, chillis and oil palms, and nectar from Erythrina trees. It probes bark and flowers, gleans insects from branches, and also hawks flying insects. The Principe Golden Weaver often forages in groups of up to 30 individuals, and may join mixed-species flocks.

The Principe Golden Weaver is monogamous and usually is a solitary breeder. Sometimes it is colonial, with several pairs nesting in the same tree, but with the nests well spaced. The male displays and sings while hanging below his nest, beating his wings vigorously.

phown 856 The nest is globular or oval, and the entrance below has no tunnel. The nest is woven by the male from strips torn from leaves of palms or banana trees. Sometimes living leaves are included into the nest structure. The nest is lined with fine grass and fluffy grass-heads. It is suspended usually more than 10 m above the ground from the tip of a branch or palm frond.

One or two plain blue eggs are laid by the female. The male aids in feeding large nestlings. Nests are sometimes robbed by the Blue-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon malimbica and by the Principe Glossy Starling Lamprotornis ornatus.

The Principe Golden Weaver has one PHOWN record, and many more records are needed for this species (see PHOWN summary). Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.

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