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Weaver Wednesday [218] - Discovery [101]: Weyns's Weaver

2016-08-17 (737)

gravit8 Weaver Wednesday (species text)

Weyns's Weaver Ploceus weynsi

Weyns's Weaver
Weyns's Weaver male & female
figure from Dubois (1905)
Weyns's Weaver
Weyns's Weaver male
figure from Mackworth (1955)
Weyns's Weaver
Weyns's Weaver female
figure from Mackworth (1955)
Weyns's Weaver map
Weyns's Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


The Weyns's Weaver was formally described by Alphonse Joseph Charles Dubois, a Belgian naturalist and curator of the department of vertebrates at the Royal Museum of Natural History in Brussels.

The Weyns's Weaver was collected by Auguste Francois Guillaume Weyns, a Belgian Lieutenant-Colonel and explorer.

Weyns visited Africa four times before retiring in 1900, the first trip being to the village of Banana, Congo in 1888. In 1890 Weyns was appointed to protect the construction of the railway which was to connect Matadi to Stanley Pool. From 1894 to 1897 he again worked to protect the Company Railway in Belgian Congo. Weyns had wide interests and during this time he took many photos (eg published in the French magazine Congo illustre), and collected many specimens (plants, mammals, birds and insects).

In 1898 the Congo Museum was established in Tervuren. Weyns left Antwerp on 11 June 1898 on board the Albertville steamer to attend the opening of the Congo Railroad. He travelled much of the state, as far as the Stanley Falls and visited the lower reaches of several major tributaries of the river. He returned to Belgium on 9 August 1899, contributing many zoological, botanical, anthropological, geological, paleontological specimens and photographs to the Tervuren Museum.

It is most likely on the 1898-1899 trip that Weyns collected the weaver that was later named after him. 11 of the 15 collected specimens of Weyns's Weaver are still at Tervuren Museum.

The first illustration of the Weyns's Weaver was of the adult male and female, published by Dubois (1905). The next illustrations were published 50 years later by Mackworth (1955).

Scientific citation

Melanopteryx weynsi Dubois 1900a, Orn. Monatsb. 8: p.69, Bumba, Congo River, northern Belgian Congo.

Meaning of names

weynsi, Named after Lieutenant Colonel A.F.G. Weyns (1854-1944) Belgian explorer and collector in tropical Africa, 1888-1903.

First English name

Weyns's Black-headed Weaver (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Weyns's Black-headed Weaver, Weyns's Yellow-bellied Black Weaver.


Auguste F G Weyns.

Date collected

Between 1888-1900, probably 1898-1899.

Locality collected

Bumba, Congo River, DR Congo.

Type specimens

11 of the 15 types are in the Tervuren Museum.