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Weaver Wednesday 4 [289] - Weaver themes [26]: Genus Ploceus - 5. 'Sitagra' weavers

2017-12-27 (814)

Weaver Wednesday 4: Weaver themes (Series)

'Sitagra' weavers

Reichenbach 1850a first used the subgenus 'Sitagra', from the Greek Sitos, corn; agra, catching, ie. corn-eaters. A variety of weavers were included in this group by different authors, the final revision being by Wolters 1982a, who upgraded this taxon to genus level and included 4 species.

'Sitagra' weavers:
Little Weaver
Slender-billed Weaver
Loanga Weaver
Lesser Masked Weaver
Strange Weaver - included in Wolters 1958a but moved to Sitagroides in Wolters 1982a.

Note: recent genetic studies indicate thet the Lesser Masked Weaver may not belong in this group.

These weavers generally have a slender bill (although thicker and shorter in Little Weaver). The breeding males have black masks. The females are generally olive-green above, and yellowish below.

The species cover much of Africa but there is significant overlap: the range of the Loanga Weaver (central west coast of Africa) is contained within the range of the Slender-billed Weaver; the ranges of Lesser Masked Weaver, Little Weaver and Slender-billed Weaver overlap in the lake Victoria region.

Nesting is usually in trees, and nests often have a short entrance tube. Mating system varies: the Lesser Masked Weaver is polygynous, Little and Slender-billed Weavers are monogamous, and unknown for Loanga Weaver.

Little Weaver
Lesser Masked Weaver
Loanga Weaver (in front)
Slender-billed Weaver
Sitagra weaver ranges
Loanga Weaver (red), Lesser Masked Weaver (green), Little Weaver (yellow), Slender-billed Weaver (purple)