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Weaver Wednesday [68]: Bocage's Weaver

2013-10-02 (425)

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The Bocage's Weaver Ploceus temporalis is very similar to the Cape Weaver and has even been considered to be a subspecies of the latter. The The Bocage's Weaver breeding male has a pale eye and olive-brown face mask, and olive-brown throat patch. The female has an olive-green olive-green face patch, and brown eye; it is darker and greener than other weavers in its range. Non-breeding males resemble females but have white eyes. Bocage's Weaver differs from the Cape Weaver in having a short stout bill. Bocage's Weaver map

The Bocage's Weaver is found in central and north-east Angola, southern DRCongo and north-west Zambia (see map left based on Birds of Africa). No subspecies are recognised in this little-known species.

It inhabits bushes and trees near water, usually in dambos, also in rank grassland and tall forbs alongside streams and at the edges of marshes. It forages in flocks of up to 50 birds. Its diet is insects, including beetles, grasshoppers and caterpillars. Spiders have been found in the stomach of a chick.

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The Bocage's Weaver is probably polygynous. It is a colonial species and colonies of more than 30 nests at one site and up to 20 in one tree have been recorded. The nest is ovoid, and the entrance below may have a short entrance tunnel. The nest is loosely woven from grass stems or strips of grass blades and palm leaves. The nest has a ceiling made of leaf blades and grass heads. Grass seedheads are used as lining. The nest is suspended from a branch over water or in elephant grass next to rivers.

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The clutch is 2 eggs, and they are plain sky-blue, similar to Cape Weaver eggs. There is no information on incubation and nestling periods. Brood parasitism by the Diederik Cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius has been recorded in Zambia.

The Bocage's Weaver has one photographic PHOWN record from Zambia and 9 Nest Record Cards from Angola (see also PHOWN summary) and many more are needed. Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.

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