Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [161] - Discovery [44]: Chestnut Weaver

2015-07-15 (656)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Chestnut Weaver Ploceus rubiginosus

Chestnut Weaver
Chestnut Weaver male,
figure from Ruppell 1840
Chestnut Weaver
Chestnut Weaver,
figure from Reichenbach 1863
Chestnut Weaver map
Chestnut Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


The Chestnut 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.

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). Rüppell stayed in this area a few months at the end of 1831 and into early 1832, and then travelled inland with a trade caravan to reach the Abyssinian Highlands in 1833. He found the Chestnut Weaver at only one locality on his travels. The weavers were in small family parties at high altitude and he collected a male, female and young bird.

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

Scientific citation

Ploceus rubiginosus Ruppell 1840 Neue Wirbelt., Vogel, p.93, 100; pl. 33, fig. 1; Temben province, northern Abyssinia.

Meaning of names

rubiginosus - Latin: rusty, ferruginous.

First English name

The rufous Weawer (Reichenbach 1863).

Alternate names

Angola Chestnut Weaver, Chocolate Weaver, The rufous Weawer.


Eduard Rüppell.

Date collected


Locality collected

Temben province, northern Ethiopia.

Type specimens

One specimen is known to be in the British Museum (Vell. Cat. XX:239 a) (Sharpe 1890) - this specimen was aquired from the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt in 1834. Senckenberg Museum has two additional syntypes, a male and a female (SMF 12645, 69062).