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Weaver Wednesday [114]: Comoro Fody

2014-08-20 (555)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday

The Comoro Fody, or Red-headed Forest Fody, Foudia eminentissima breeding male has a red head, breast and rump. It is distinguished from the introduced Madagascar Fody by having larger and longer bills, and clearer wing bars.

The Comoro Fody is found on the Comoro Islands (see map below, based on Birds of the Malagasy region). There are 4 subspecies, found on different islands:
F. e. eminentissima on Moheli (Mwali) Island (see red on map).
F. e. consobrina, on Grand Comoro (Njazidja) Island (see yellow on map). This race is smaller and more slender-billed than the nominate, greyer below, and overall more orange than red.
F. e. anjuanensis , on Anjouan (Ndzuani) Island (see green on map). This race is orange on the head and rump, the orange often extending to the belly, and has an orange wash on the mantle.
F. e. algondae , on Mayotte (Maore) Island (see orange on map). This race is smaller than the nominate, and dorsally is greener and plain-coloured.
These races may represent more than one species. The Aldabra Fody is no longer considered a race of this species. Comoro Fody  map

The Comoro Fody inhabits well wooded habitats and forested areas. On Mayotte it is not found in intact stands of evergreen forest. On Grand Comoro, Mohéli and Mayotte it is found close to sea-level.

The diet of the Comoro Fody is mainly insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, and ant pupae. The Comoro Fody also feeds on fruit and spiders.

The Comoro Fody is probably monogamous. It is territorial, and males sing from tree tops in their territories. The nest is globular with a side entrance near the top. There is usually a porch above the entrance. Nests may have a ceiling of moss. The eggs (clutch of 3) are pale blue, with a few fine spots. Possible nest predators include the exotic black rat, lemurs, and raptors.

There are no PHOWN records for the Comoro Fody (see PHOWN summary), and many are needed. Submit any weaver nest records to PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) via the Virtual Museum upload site.

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