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Weaver Wednesday [105]: Fox's Weaver

2014-06-18 (529)

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Fox's Weaver

The Fox's Weaver Ploceus spekeoides is a rare weaver with a heavy bill, short tail, and dark eye (the eye colour in the stamp is incorrect). The male has a reddish eye, yellow rump, and a black mask that ends in a point on the breast. Speke's Weaver is very similar but has a pale eye and its range is different. The Heuglin's Weaver has a small bill, pale eye, and plain green back. The Vitelline Masked Weaver has a chestnut crown, and a black mask that is rounded on the throat. The Lesser Masked Weaver has a white eye and black forecrown. The female Fox's Weaver is dull, with yellow rump and underparts, and with heavy dark steaks on the crown and back.

Fox's Weaver is found in central Uganda (see map below, based on Birds of Africa). It is considered Near-threatened as it has a restricted range and is very poorly known. It has been recorded at, and around, Lakes Bisina and Opeta; at Rhino Camp (in Arua) and around Lake Kyoga (near Nakasongola). Fox's Weaver was first collected at Nariam Swamp, but it has since been drained. Every year during the Oct-Feb dry season, large numbers of cattle move to the Opeta region for grazing, which degrades the wooded grassland on which this weaver depends for breeding. Fox's Weaver map

Fox's Weaver inhabits bushed and wooded grassland in swampy areas, but in the dry season it seems to leave the breeding sites.

The Fox's Weaver feeds on seeds, and probably on insects.

The Fox's Weaver is apparently colonial. The nest is oval, roughly woven and without an entrance tunnel. It nests in swamps. In 1996, 47 nests were counted around Lake Bisina. There is no other information on eggs or breeding.

There are no PHOWN records for the Fox's Weaver (see PHOWN summary), and many are needed of this rare species. Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.

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