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Weaver Wednesday [117]: Aldabra Fody

2014-09-10 (566)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday

The Aldabra Fody Foudia albadrana is a very localised fody. The male in breeding pluamge has a red head and breast, and yellowish belly (photo right, copyright Ross Wanless). The non-breeding male and the female are dull coloured, but there are no other weavers or fodies on Aldabra. The bill is long and heavy compared to other fodies.

The Aldabra Fody is restricted to Aldabra atoll in the Indian Ocean (see map below, based on Birds of the Malagasy region). It occurs on the main islands and on the small islets inside the lagoon. The population is estimated at 1000-3000 pairs.

Aldabra Fody  map

The Aldabra Fody inhabits all woody habitats, including scrub, mangroves, Casuarina woodland and coconut groves. At the settlement it is tame and enters the houses. It often occurs in flocks.

The Aldabra Fody is omnivorous, and eats insects, spiders, seeds (including Casuarina and grass seeds), nectar, fruit and flowers. Insects include beetles, cockroach adults and nymphs, adult damselflies, termites, earwigs, ants, grasshoppers, and flies. The large bill of the Aldabra Fody allows it to take larger insects than other fodies do.

The Aldabra Fody is monogamous and territorial. The male sings in his territory to defend it. The male builds the nest, although the female may help when it is near completed.

The nest is globular and has a side entrance, resembling the nest of other fodies, and the nest sometimes has a short porch. The nest is placed in trees (especially Coconut Palms) or shrubs, often high above the ground. Nests may sometimes be built in the palm thatch of buildings. Nest material includes tendrils, strips of palm fronds, dry grass, dead leaves, and other vegetation. Fine grasses are used to line the nest. Many nests are abandoned, probably if a male fails to attract a female. Males build up to 10 nests in a breeding season. Nest construction varies from 3 days to a few weeks.

The eggs (usually 3, but varies from 2-4 eggs) are pale blue. Incubation is by the female, and chicks are fed by both parents. Breeding success is low, and nest predators include rats and Pied Crows.

There are no PHOWN records for the Aldabra 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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