Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [120] - Discovery [3]: Yellow-backed Weaver

2014-10-01 (576)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Yellow-backed Weaver Ploceus melanocephalus

Yellow-backed Weaver
First pic of Yellow-backed Weaver,
from Albin 1738
Yellow-backed Weaver
Duke of Chandos, owner of
the Yellow-backed Weaver type,
from wikipedia
Yellow-backed Weaver map
Yellow-backed Weaver distribution,
type locality circled


Linnaeus based this species description on the publication of Eleazar Albin. Albin based his illustration and text of this species on birds in the aviary of Grace the Duke of Chandos, James Brydges.

Albin, an English naturalist and water-colour illustrator, included a short text and copper plate engraving illustrations in his book "A natural history of birds", and Vol 3 contained the Yellow-backed Weaver. Albin called the bird Gamboa Groasbeak.

Linnaeus listed the type locality as Gvinea, based on Albin's locality of Gamboa on the coast of Guinea. There is a Gamboa in Angola, but Albin's locality probably refers to Gambia rather than Guinea.

Scientific citation

Loxia melanocephala Linnaeus 1758 Syst. Nat., ed. 10, p.175 Guinea

Meaning of names

melanocephala (Greek) Melas, black; -kephalos, headed

Alternate names

Black-headed Weaver, Yellow-collared Weaver


Unknown, sent to the Duke of Chandos in England.

Date collected

Before 1735, when Albin painted the bird (date on painting: 9 Sept 1735).

Locality collected

Probably Gambia.

Type specimens

No type specimens known to survive, but the painting of Albin serves as a type.