Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [173] - Discovery [56]: Grey-headed Social Weaver

2015-10-07 (672)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Grey-headed Social Weaver Pseudonigrita arnaudi

Grey-headed Social Weaver
Grey-headed Social Weaver,
figure from Heuglin (1871)
Grey-headed Social Weaver
Grey-headed Social Weaver,
figure from Sharpe (1890)
Grey-headed Social Weaver map
Grey-headed Social Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


The Grey-headed Social Weaver was formally described by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a French biologist and ornithologist. Around 1849 Bonaparte began work on preparing a classification of all the birds in the world, visiting museums across Europe to study the collections. In 1850, he published the first volume of his Conspectus Generum Avium which included 3 weavers. Bonaparte studied the type specimen of the Grey-headed Social Weaver in the Paris Museum. He named it after the French collector Joseph-Pons d'Arnaud, a French engineer, hunter and explorer.

Three expeditions were fitted out between 1839 and 1842 to search for the source of the White Nile. The second trip, with d'Arnaud as the scientific chief of the expedition, reached to around Juba. d'Arnaud collected a variety of birds, including the Grey-headed Social Weaver, which were sent to the Paris Museum.

The first illustration of a Grey-headed Social Weaver is by Heuglin (1871). The next illustration was a line drawing of the bird's wing, published by Sharpe (1890). Reichenbach (1863) mentioned the species, and provided an English name, but did not illustrate it.

Scientific citation

Nigrita arnaudi Bonaparte 1850 Consp. Gen. Av., 1, p.444 White Nile, Sudan.

Meaning of names

arnaudi - named after A. d'Arnaud, French explorer in the Sudan and Ethiopia.

First English name

Arnauds Nigrita (Reichenbach 1863).

Alternate names

Masai Grey-headed Social Weaver.


Joseph-Pons d'Arnaud.

Date collected


Locality collected

Nil. albo = White Nile.

Type specimens

The type specimen is probably in the Paris Museum.