Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [159] - Discovery [42]: Eastern Golden Weaver

2015-07-01 (652)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Eastern Golden Weaver Ploceus subaureus

Eastern Golden Weaver
Eastern Golden Weaver male,
figure from Smith 1839
Eastern Golden Weaver
Eastern Golden Weaver,
different races
figure from Reichenbach 1863
Eastern Golden Weaver map
Eastern Golden Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


The Eastern Golden Weaver was formally described by Sir Andrew Smith, a Scottish surgeon, naturalist, explorer and zoologist.

Smith lived in South Africa from 1821 to 1837, mainly in Grahamstown and Algoa Bay (i.e. Port Elizabeth) in the Eastern Cape, and in Cape Town in the Western Cape (Kirby 1965). Smith's type-localities are often imprecise because he was more interested in describing ranges than providing formal type-localities. Smith collected ten specimens of the Eastern Golden Weaver 'in the neighbourhood of Algoa Bay'.

Smith formally described the Eastern Golden Weaver in 1839, but he refers to an earlier description by him, i.e. 'Ploceus subaureus Smith. Proceedings of South African Institution, April, 1832'. This reference has not been traced (Oschadleus 2007) but shows that he had collected at least one specimen of this species by 1832.

The first illustration of a Eastern Golden Weaver is a colour painting by George Henry Ford who painted for Smith. The next illustration is by Reichenbach (1863).

Scientific citation

Ploceus subaureus Smith 1839; Illustr. Zool. South Africa, Aves, pl. 30 (and text); Algoa Bay, eastern Cape.

Meaning of names

subaureus - Latin: sub-, underneath; aureus, golden.

First English name

The yellow-golden Jaunisserin (Reichenbach 1863).

Alternate names

(Red-eyed) Yellow Weaver, African Golden Weaver, Algoa-Bay Weaverbird, Bohndorff's Golden Weaver, Canary-coloured Weaver Bird, Golden Weaver, Mnana Golden Weaver, Olive-headed Golden Weaver, Smith's Golden Weaver, The brimstone coloured Jaunisserin, The yellow-golden Oriolin, Yellow Weaver


Andrew Smith.

Date collected

Before 1832.

Locality collected

Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Type specimens

One specimen is known to be in the Bristish museum (BM 1845.7.6.21), but more types should still exist.