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Weaver Wednesday [74]: Northern Brown-throated Weaver

2013-11-13 (447)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday

The Northern Brown-throated Weaver Ploceus castanops breeding male has a dark chestnut face and throat which looks black from a distance. It is distinguished from the Golden-backed Weaver P. jacksoni and Yellow-backed Weaver P. melanocephalus when in the same papyrus swamps, by the golden yellow crown and underparts. The female has a streaked back and tawny-buff breast and is distinguished by black lores and a pale eye, a buff (not yellow) supercilium, lack of yellow on the underparts, and a more slender bill. The female Orange Weaver P. aurantius has a pale bill and whitish underparts. The range of the Northern Brown-throated Weaver does not overlap with the similar Southern Brown-throated Weaver P. xanthopterus.

Northern Brown-throated Weaver map The Northern Brown-throated Weaver is locally common in Uganda and surrounding countries in the Lake Victoria basin (see map right, based on Birds of Africa). No subspecies are recognised.

The Northern Brown-throated Weaver inhabits waterside vegetation along lakes and rivers, especially in papyrus and ambatch. It visits forest and woodland habitats in the non-breeding season.

The Northern Brown-throated Weaver feeds on seeds, including millet, and also on insects. It forages in small flocks, often with other weavers, on the ground, in vegetation and on floating aquatic plants. The foot structure shows adaptations typical of papyrus specialists. phown 732

The Northern Brown-throated Weaver is apparently monogamous. It is colonial, with 5-6 nests in one tree, but also nests solitarily. It sometimes breeds in mixed species colonies. The nest is rounded, tightly woven, and with the entrance below covered by a small projecting porch. The nest is built by the male from strips of grass and creepers, and lined with fine grass and some feathers. The nest is placed in tall elephant grass, low shrubs, in reeds, papyrus, bulrushes or ambatch.

The clutch is 2-3 eggs, and egg colour is pinkish or pale blue, plain or spotted with red-brown. The chicks are fed by both male and female. Known nest predators include egg-eating snakes.

The Northern Brown-throated Weaver has 1 PHOWN record (see PHOWN summary) but many more are needed. Old nests may be used by Swamp Flycatchers Muscicapa aquatica. Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.

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