Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [178] - Discovery [61]: Sakalava Weaver

2015-11-11 (680)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Sakalava Weaver Ploceus sakalava

Sakalava Weaver
Sakalava Weaver,
figure from Edwards (1879)
Sakalava Weaver
Sakalava Weaver male & female,
figure from Edwards (1879)
Sakalava Weaver map
Sakalava Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


The Sakalava Weaver was formally described by Karel Johan Gustav Hartlaub, a German physician and ornithologist.

The Sakalava Weaver had been collected by Victor Sganzin, a French naval officer and zoologist. Sganzin was appointed as military administrator of the French outpost at Sainte Marie island (Madagascar), and he explored the Malagasy fauna from 1831-1832 (Sganzin 1840), collecting many bird specimens.

When Sganzin returned to the Cape, he gave the Sakalava Weaver specimen to Jules Verreaux (at the South African Museum). It must have been sent to the British Museum at some stage. It was overlooked as a new species for many years, until the head ornithologist of the British Museum, George Robert Gray, pointed it out to Hartlaub (Hartlaub 1867), who was writing about the birds of Madagascar (Hartlaub 1861).

The first illustrations of the Sakalava Weaver were published by Edwards (1879). The first plate contained line drawings of the wing, head, bill and foot. This was followed by a colour plate of a male and female.

Scientific citation

Ploceus sakalava Hartlaub 1861, Beitr. Faun. Madag., p.54 Madagascar.

Meaning of names

sakalava - After the Sakalava, a native clan of Madagascar whose kingdom, established in the sixteenth century, was subdued in 1824 and incorporated into a united Madagascar.

First English name

Sakalava Weaver-bird (Sibree 1891), decades after it was first described.

Alternate names

Sakalava Fody.


Victor Sganzin.

Date collected


Locality collected


Type specimens

The type specimen is in the British Museum (BM 1845.7.6.10).