Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [158] - Discovery [41]: Red-headed Malimbe

2015-06-24 (650)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Red-headed Malimbe Malimbus rubricollis

Red-headed Malimbe
Red-headed Malimbe male,
figure from Vieillot 1805
Red-headed Malimbe
Red-headed Malimbe male
(inset is a female showing the black
forehead), figure from Fraser 1849
Red-headed Malimbe map
Red-headed Malimbe
distribution, type locality circled


The Red-headed Malimbe was formally described by William John Swainson, an English zoologist and artist.

Swainson described this species based on a painting by Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot, a French ornithologist. Vieillot described several weavers from Cabinda, including this species. However, Vieillot, thought that this bird was the female of the Crested Malimbe. Ironically, he noted "We might suspect that this female would be a different species than the male above". Both Crested and Red-headed Malimbes had been collected by Jean Perrein, a French naturalist, in Cabinda - he saw both species together and thought they belonged to one species (he did not have the luxury of binoculars).

Vieillot noted that Perrein collected this species in the kingdom of Congo; Perrein is known to have been based at Malimbe (now Malembo) and this is taken as the type locality.

The first illustration of a Red-headed Malimbe was published by Vieillot in 1805. The next illustration was published by Fraser 1849 (of a pair collected in Sao Tome).

Scientific citation

Ploceus rubricollis Swainson 1838 Anim. Menag., p.306 Malimba, Portuguese Congo (ex Vieillot, Ois. Chant., pl. 43).

Meaning of names

rubricollis - Latin: ruber, red; Mod. L. -collis, necked.

First English name

Red-crowned Euplectes (Fraser 1849).

Alternate names

Angola Red-headed Malimbe, Bartlett's Red-headed Weaver, Lagos Red-headed Malimbe, Nigerian Red-headed Weaver, Red-crowned Euplectes, Red-headed Weaver, The red-necked Malimbus, Uganda Malimbe, Upper Guinea Red-headed Malimbe.


Jean Perrein.

Date collected

Before 1805 when Vieillot described it, and probably before 1802 when Perrein was in Cabinda.

Locality collected

Malimbe =Malembo, Cabinda, Angola.

Type specimens

The type may be in the Paris Natural History Museum.