Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [160] - Discovery [43]: Rüppell's Weaver

2015-07-08 (655)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Rüppell's Weaver Ploceus galbula

Rüppell's Weaver
Rüppell's Weaver male,
figure from Ruppell 1840
Rüppell's Weaver
Rüppell's Weaver,
different races
figure from Reichenbach 1863
Rüppell's Weaver map
Rüppell's Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


The Rüppell's Weaver was formally described by Wilhelm Peter Eduard Simon Rüppell, a German naturalist and explorer, especially in north-east Africa. Rüppell was the first naturalist to travel through Ethiopia and many birds are named after him.

Rüppell thought this species was an oriole, hence the latin name he chose (see below). He described a male, female and young bird, finding Rüppell's Weaver to be a common species in the Modat valley on the coast of Eritrea, where he collected the specimens. On Rüppell's third journey to Africa, in 1831-34, he travelled to the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, and along the coast of the Red Sea to Massawa (Steinheimer 2005). It is unclear where the Modat valley lies, and the area of Massawa on the coast is considered the modern type locality for the Rüppell's Weaver. Rüppell stayed in this area a few months at the end of 1831 and into early 1832.

The first illustration of a Rüppell's Weaver is a colour painting in Ruppell 1840. The next illustration is by Reichenbach (1863), also of an adult male.

Scientific citation

Ploceus galbula Ruppell 1840 Neue Wirbelt., Vogel, p.92, pl. 32 (fig. 2); Modat Valley, Eritrea.

Meaning of names

galbula - Latin: a small yellowish bird (dim. of galbina, a small yellow bird; galbus, yellow).

First English name

The Oriole Weawer (Reichenbach 1863).

Alternate names

Canary Weaver, The Oriole Weawer.


Eduard Rüppell.

Date collected

1831 or 1832.

Locality collected

Modat Valley [=Massaua area], Eritrea.

Type specimens

One specimen is known to be in the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt (specimen 12644), but more types should still exist.