Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [212] - Discovery [95]: Yellow-capped Weaver

2016-07-06 (731)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Yellow-capped Weaver Ploceus dorsomaculatus

Yellow-capped Weaver
Yellow-capped Weaver female,
figure from Reichenow (1896)
Yellow-capped Weaver
Yellow-capped Weaver,
figure from Ogilvie-Grant (1917)
Yellow-capped Weaver map
Yellow-capped Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


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

The Yellow-capped Weaver was collected by Georg August Zenker, a German zoologist and botanist.

In 1886 Zenker accompanied Italian explorers on an expedition to the lower reaches of the Congo River. he then settled on a plantation in Gabon. When the company had to give up the plantation in 1889, the company owner made Zenker head of the research expedition into the interior of Cameroon, which was based at Yaounde where Zenker remained from 1889-1895.

Zenker collected 5000 plant specimens and a number of birds which were sent to the Berlin Museum. Zenker collected a female Yellow-capped Weaver sometime between 1889 and 1893, probably closer to 1893. Unfortunately the crate containing the Yellow-capped Weaver type became wet, and mould appeared on this specimen. Although damaged, the type is still in the Berlin Museum.

The male Yellow-capped Weaver was first described several years later by Bates 1911b, who collected a pair at Bitye, Cameroon.

The first illustration of the Yellow-capped Weaver was of the type, published by Reichenow (1896) three years after he published the description. The next illustration was by Ogilvie-Grant 1917, who painted the head and chin patterns of male and female Yellow-capped Weavers, this being the first time that the male was illustrated.

Scientific citation

Symplectes dorsomaculatus Reichenow 1893b, Orn. Monatsber., 1, p.177, Jaunde, Cameroon.

Meaning of names

dorsomaculatus, Latin: dorsum, dorsi, the back; maculatus, spotted, blotched (maculare, to stain).

First English name

Mottle-backed Black-winged Weaver (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Mottle-backed Black-winged Weaver, The Yellow-capped Weaver, Yellow Capped Weaver.


Georg August Zenker.

Date collected

Between 1889-1893.

Locality collected

Jaunde, Cameroon.

Type specimens

The type is in the Berlin Museum (ZMB_30841).