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Weaver Wednesday [199] - Discovery [82]: Rufous-tailed Weaver

2016-04-06 (711)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Rufous-tailed Weaver Histurgops ruficaudus

Rufous-tailed Weaver
Rufous-tailed Weaver male,
figure from Sharpe (1890)
Rufous-tailed Weaver
Rufous-tailed Weaver female,
figure from Shelley (1905)
Rufous-tailed Weaver
Rufous-tailed Weaver,
type ZMB_30733
Rufous-tailed Weaver map
Rufous-tailed Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


The Rufous-tailed Weaver was formally described by Anton Reichenow, a German ornithologist and herpetologist.

The Rufous-tailed Weaver was collected by Dr Gustav A Fischer, a German African explorer.

Fischer settled as a physician in Zanzibar in 1876, from where he undertook expeditions to Tanzania and Kenya. Fischer collected some birds in Zanzibar and then undertook a trip along the Kenyan coast where he collected some Fire-fronted Bishops.

His third trip started in late 1882 on the Tanzanian coast and he followed the Pangani River upstream. When he reached the Pare Mountains in March 1883, he collected the type specimen of the Black-capped Social Weaver. Fischer visited Europe and then returned to Tanzania in 1885. On 1 August 1885 he left Pangani and travelled south to Irangi and then northwards towards Lake Victoria. On 24 October 1885 he found Rufous-tailed Weavers on the Wembere Steppe at the southern edge of the range of this species. Fischer briefly described the nests and habits of this weaver.

The first illustration of the Rufous-tailed Weaver was a line drawing of the head published by Sharpe (1890). The next illustration to be published was a colour painting of an adult Rufous-tailed Weaver in Shelley (1905).

Scientific citation

Histurgops ruficauda Reichenow 1887, Journ. f. Orn., 35, p.67, Wembere Steppe, central Tanganyika Territory.

Meaning of names

ruficauda, Latin: rufus, red; cauda, the tail.

First English name

Rufous-tailed Weaver (Shelley 1905).

Alternate names



Gustav A. Fischer.

Date collected

24 Oct 1885.

Locality collected

Wembaere steppe, Tanzania.

Type specimens

There is a type in the Berlin Museum.