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Weaver Wednesday [193] - Discovery [76]: Black Bishop

2016-02-24 (702)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Black Bishop Euplectes gierowii

Black Bishop
Black Bishop male,
figure from Cabanis (1880)
Black Bishop
Black Bishop male,
photo of type specimen
Black Bishop map
Black Bishop
distribution, type locality circled


The Black Bishop was formally described by Jean Louis Cabanis, a German ornithologist and director of the Berlin University Museum, who described several other weavers.

The Black Bishop was collected by Otto Schutt, a German railway engineer who worked in various countries, being in Angola in 1878-1879, where he collected many birds. Paul Gierow accompanied Schutt on his travels, and Cabanis named the bishop after Gierow, as Cabanis had already named other bird species after Schutt (eg. Black-billed Turaco Tauraco schuetti).

Bocage (1893) restricted the type locality from Angola to Cuango River, Malanje Province. This was not based on ornithological publications or from label data, but Bocage drew on his regional knowledge and possible routes taken by Schutt. Schutt wrote a book on his travels in Angola (Reisen Im Sudwestlichen Becken Des Congo).

The first illustration of the Black Bishop was published in Cabanis (1880). The second illustration was published by Fischer (1884), of subspecies friederichseni (see Biology of the Black Bishop).

Scientific citation

Euplectes Gierowii Cabanis 1880 Ornithologisches Centralblatt, 5(1), p. 6, Angola.

Meaning of names

gierowii, After Paul Gierow.

First English name

Ansorge's Bishop-bird (Shelley 1905).

Alternate names

Angola Black-Bishop, Ansorge's Bishop-bird, Gierow's Bishop-bird, Massailand Bishop, Northern Black-Bishop, Southern Black-Bishop.


Otto Schutt and Paul Gierow.

Date collected

1878 or 1879.

Locality collected

Cuango River, Malanje Province, Angola.

Type specimens

The type specimen is in the Berlin Museum (ZMB 24389).