Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [180] - Discovery [63]: Holub's Golden Weaver

2015-11-25 (683)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Holub's Golden Weaver Ploceus xanthops

Holub's Golden Weaver
Holub's Golden Weaver adult,
figure from Reichenow (1886)
(Sakalava Weaver in front)
Holub's Golden Weaver
Holub's Golden Weaver
variation in eggs (circled)
figure from Swynnerton (1916)
Holub's Golden Weaver map
Holub's Golden Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


Holub's Golden Weaver was formally described by Karel Johan Gustav Hartlaub, a German physician and ornithologist.

Holub's Golden Weaver had been collected by Joachim John Monteiro, a Portuguese engineer and ornithologist. Hartlaub described several birds that Monteiro collected in Angola in 1861, but no localities were provided. A century later, hall collected birds in Angola and in studying variation in plumage and size in Holub's Golden Weaver, restricted the type locality to the lower Cuanza River in northern Angola.

Over the next few years, many Holub's Golden Weaver specimens were collected in Angola and Western Africa. It was only 20 years after its discovery, that it was also found in southern Africa (in Botswana).

The first illustration of the Holub's Golden Weaver was of a male, published by Reichenow (1886). The next illustrations pertaining to Holub's Golden Weaver were by Swynnerton (1916), showing the mouth parts of chicks and also the variation in egg colour of the eggs.

Scientific citation

Hyphantornis xanthops Hartlaub 1862 Ibis, p.342 Angola. Restricted to "Lower Cuanza River" by Hall (1960, Bull. Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.), 6, p.447).

Meaning of names

xanthops Greek: xanthos, yellow; ops, the face or appearance.

First English name

Golden-faced Weaver Bird (Layard 1884).

Alternate names

African Golden Weaver, Camburn's Golden Weaver, Golden Weaver, Hartlaub's Golden Weaver, Jameson's Golden Weaver, Large Golden Weaver, Mashona Larger Golden Weaver, Olive-backed Weaver.


Joachim J Monteiro.

Date collected


Locality collected

Angola = lower Cuanza River.

Type specimens

The type specimen was in the British Museum (BM 1873.12.10.4).