Weaver news

Weaver Wednesday [215] - Discovery [98]: Juba Weaver

2016-07-27 (734)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Juba Weaver Ploceus dichrocephalus

Juba Weaver
Juba Weaver adult
figure from Mackworth (1955)
Ruspoli's Turaco
Ruspoli's Turaco
figure from Wikipedia
Juba Weaver map
Juba Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


The Juba Weaver was formally described by Tommaso Salvadori, an Italian zoologist and ornithologist who published at least 300 ornithological papers.

The Juba Weaver was collected by Prince Eugenio Ruspoli, an Italian aristocrat (descendent of the famous noble family in Rome) and naturalist.

Ruspoli explored the region between Ethiopia and Somalia during two visits, the first being in 1891. During his second expedition to north-east Africa (1892-1893) he explored the regions around Lake Rudolf. Ruspoli collected only 35 specimens of 32 species (Salvadori 1896). On 4 December 1893 he was killed by an elephant while hunting around Lake Bissan Abbaia (Abaya), north-east of Lake Stefania.

The specimens Ruspoli had collected, including birds, insects, reptiles and mammals, were sent to the Museum of Genoa in Italy, but the specimens were in bad condition and without proper labels. Salvadori recognised 3 new species: Juba Weaver, Salvadori's Serin Serinus xantholaema, and Ruspoli's Turaco Turacus ruspolii. Although the type locality is often given as Somalia, these species would have been collected in present day Ethiopia.

The first illustration of the Juba Weaver was of an adult male, published several decades after first description, by Mackworth (1955). The next illustrations were printed in field guides from 1995 onwards.

Scientific citation

Hyphantornis dichrocephalus Salvadori 1896a, Ann. Mus. Genova 16(2), p.45, Italian Somaliland and Gallaland.

Meaning of names

dicrocephalus, Greek: Dikhrous, two-coloured; -kephalos, headed.

First English name

Chestnut-headed Golden Weaver (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Chestnut-headed Golden Weaver, Jubaland Weaver, Salvadori's Weaver, Somali Yellow-backed Weaver.


Prince Eugenio Ruspoli.

Date collected

1892 or 1893.

Locality collected


Type specimens

The type is in the Museum of Genoa.