Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [201] - Discovery [84]: Bob-tailed Weaver

2016-04-20 (713)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Bob-tailed Weaver Brachycope anomala

Bob-tailed Weaver
Bob-tailed Weaver female & male,
figure from Bannerman (1949)
Bob-tailed Weaver
Bob-tailed Weaver male & female,
figure from Schouteden (1958)
Bob-tailed Weaver
Austro-Hungarian Congo Expedition,
figure from Wikipedia
Stanley Falls circled
Bob-tailed Weaver map
Bob-tailed Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


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

The Bob-tailed Weaver was collected by Friedrich Bohndorff, a German researcher and ornithologist.

Bohndorff took part in the Austro-Hungarian Congo Expedition, 1885-87. It was led by Oskar Lenz, a German-Austrian geologist. They crossed the African continent from the Atlantic, following the Congo River and then continuing eastward to the Indian Ocean. The aims were to survey the economic trade situation in the newly established Congo Free State, and to map the Congo-Nile watershed between the Congo and Nile Rivers.

In February 1886 the expedition reached the Stanley Falls (named after Henry Morton Stanley who reached the falls in January 1877, 9 years prior to Bohndorff). Here Bohndorff collected a male Bob-tailed Weaver and this type specimen is in the Berlin Museum. The Bob-tailed Weaver occurs along much of the Congo River but Bohndorff missed it earlier, perhaps not having much time for collecting before reaching the Falls. Bohndorff also collected a new subspecies of the Village Weaver at Stanley Falls and Reichenow later named the subspecies after Bohndorff.

The first illustration of the Bob-tailed Weaver was published by Bannerman (1949), over 60 years after it was first described. The next illustration to be published was by Schouteden (1958).

Scientific citation

Ploceus anomalus Reichenow 1887, Journ. f. Orn., 35, p.214, Stanley Falls.

Meaning of names

anomala, Latin: anomalus, irregular, anomalous (Greek: Anomalos, irregular, strange).

First English name

Anomalous Weaver (Shelley 1905).

Alternate names

Anomalus Bishop.


Friedrich Bohndorff.

Date collected

Feb 1886.

Locality collected

Stanley Falls, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Type specimens

The type is in the Berlin Museum (ZMB_B.20007).