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BOOK: Birds of the World, 15

2010-12-31 (88)

Craig AJFK, 2010. Family Ploceidae (Weavers). Pp. 74-197 in: del Hoyo J, Elliott A, Christie DA (eds). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 15. Weavers to New World Warblers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona

Vol 15 of this series starts with the weaver family Ploceidae and contains 116 weaver species. The taxonomy differs in some respects to "The Birds of Africa Vol 7" (Fry CH, Keith S. 2004. Helm, London), for instance Quelea and Euplectes are placed at the start of the Ploceinae (after the Thick-billed Weaver) rather than at the end.
The format is as in previous volumes with an introduction to each family, and well illustrated with photographs. The family account covers Systematics, Morphological Aspects, Habitat, General Habits, Voice, Food and Feeding, Breeding, Movements, Relationship with Man, and Status and Conservation, and a general bibliography. For the weavers 69 species (59%) are illustrated by photographs. Some photographs I particularly enjoyed for their quality and/or interest were of Red-billed Queleas Quelea quelea perched on thorny twigs packed very closely together, an African Golden Weaver Ploceus subaureus nest building sequence, and Southern Masked Weavers P. velatus attacking a Boomslang Dispholidus typus. The species accounts include plates illustrating both sexes and distinctive subspecies, and text and a map for each species.

The plates in this Handbook (HBW) were compared with those of the new "Birds of Africa" field-guide (BoA). The HBW has many more additional figures not found in BoA:
EXTRA SUBSPECIES - White-headed Buffalo-Weaver, White-browed Sparrow-weaver, Grey-headed Social-weaver, Thick-billed Weaver, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Red-collared Widowbird, Black Bishop, Yellow Bishop, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, White-winged Widowbird, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Long-tailed Widowbird, Hartlaub's Marsh Widowbird, African Golden Weaver, Lesser Masked Weaver, Black-headed Weaver, Village Weaver, Southern Brown-throated Weaver, Vieillot's Black Weaver, Dark-backed Weaver, Black-necked Weaver, Yellow-mantled Weaver, Black-billed Weaver, Baglafecht Weaver, Crested Malimbe, Red-vented Malimbe, Red-headed Weaver;
EXTRA VARIANTS OR FEMALES - Bocage's Weaver, Cape Weaver, Black-headed Weaver, Southern Masked Weaver, Vitelline Masked Weaver, Tanganyika Masked Weaver, Lufira Masked Weaver, Katanga Masked Weaver, Sao Tome Weaver, Príncipe Golden Weaver, Usambara Weaver, Loanga Weaver, Crested Malimbe, Red-headed Malimbe.
BoA has extra figures of juveniles (Sociable Weaver, Dark-backed Weaver), transitional plumages (Southern Red Bishop, Yellow-crowned Bishop), flight (several Euplectes species), non-breeding males (Yellow Bishop, Yellow-mantled Widowbird, White-winged Widowbird, Long-tailed Widowbird, Bob-tailed Weaver) and an extra race of Spectacled Weaver.
Eye colours are incorrect in two species: Fox's Weaver in BoA is white but should be red-brown, and Maxwell's Black Weaver in HBW is pale but should be brown.
The plates in HBW at first seem pleasing but when compared to BoA, the latter plates look better.

Oschadleus HD, 2011. Handbook of the Birds of the World, Volume 15: Weavers to New World Warblers. By Josep del Hoyo, Andrew Elliott and David A Christie (eds). Ostrich 82(1): 79-80

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