Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [124] - Discovery [7]: Madagascar Fody

2014-10-29 (588)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Madagascar Fody Foudia madagascariensis

Madagascar Fody
Madagascar Fody,
figure by Flacourt 1658
Madagascar Fody
Madagascar Fody,
figure from Brisson
Madagascar Fody map
Madagascar Fody distribution,
type locality circled


Linnaeus (1766) briefly descriped the Madagascar Fody, based on the longer description in Brisson 1760. Mathurin Jacques Brisson, a French zoologist, gave the names "Le Cardinal de Madagascar" (French) and Cardinalis madagascariensis (Latin). Brisson's painting is very poor, but his text is extensive, so there is no doubt about the species he was referring to.

Brisson noted that the Madagascar Fody originated from Madagascar, from where they were sent to RAF de Reaumur by Pierre Poivre, the administrator of Mauritius and Reunion. Poivre travelled to Madagascar in 1756 (Stresemann 1952) where he collected many bird specimens for de Reaumur.

The Madagascar Fody was first illustrated by Etienne de Flacourt, French governor of Madagascar. He wrote a book of the natural history, culture and history of southern Madagascar in 1658, including line drawings of some of the fauna and flora. He called the fody "Foulimene", and this is probably the first illustration (although a poor one) of any weaver species to appear in print.

Flacourt wrote about the fody as being captured by the locals because it was a pest on the rice crops, and he thought them to be beautiful due to their scarlet plumage.

Scientific citation

Loxia madagascariensis Linnaeus 1766 Syst. Nat., ed. 12, 1, p.300 Madagascar

Meaning of names

madagascariensis After the island of Madagascar.

Alternate names

Madagascan Fody, Madagascan Red Fody, Red Fody


Pierre Poivre.

Date collected

In 1756 when Poivre visited Madagascar.

Locality collected


Type specimens

Poivre's type specimens did not survive (Stresemann 1952), but the painting of Brisson serves as a type.