Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [204] - Discovery [87]: Golden-backed Weaver

2016-05-11 (717)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Golden-backed Weaver Ploceus jacksoni

Golden-backed Weaver
Golden-backed Weaver male,
figure from Shelley (1888)
Golden-backed Weaver
Golden-backed Weaver male,
figure from Mackworth (1955)
Golden-backed Weaver female,
figure from Mackworth (1955)
Golden-backed Weaver map
Golden-backed Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


The Golden-backed Weaver was formally described by George Ernest Shelley, an English geologist and ornithologist.

The Golden-backed Weaver was collected by Frederick John Jackson, an English administrator, explorer and ornithologist.

Jackson arrived in Kenya in December 1884, where he undertook several hunting and collecting trips. In mid 1886 he decided to go to Kilimanjaro for a few months to hunt and collect specimens. While based near Mount Kilimanjaro a new species was brought to him, which was sent to England where Shelley described it as the Golden-backed Weaver.

Jackson wrote the following about how he obtained the specimen: "Little credit is due to me for having brought this new species to light, as the specimen was brought to me by a little Taveita boy, tied by the legs along with several others of the common yellow species, and was the only one that I kept, as all the rest had had their tails pulled out."

The first illustration of the Golden-backed Weaver was of the male type specimen, published by Shelley (1888). The next illustrations to be published were 6 decades later: colour paintings of the male and female in Mackworth (1955).

Scientific citation

Ploceus jacksoni Shelley 1888, Ibis, 1888, p.293 Kilimanjaro = Taveta, Kenya.

Meaning of names

jacksoni, Named after Sir Frederick Jackson (1860-1929) Governor of Uganda, 1911-1917, naturalist, collector, and author.

First English name

Jackson's Golden-backed Weaver (Shelley 1905).

Alternate names

Golden-back Weaver,
Jackson's Golden-backed Weaver,
Jackson's Weaver,
Jackson's Yellow-backed Black-headed Weaver.


Frederick John Jackson.

Date collected


Locality collected

Near Taveta, Kenya.

Type specimens

The type is in the British Museum (BM 1888.6.20.1).