Weaver species

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Katanga Masked Weaver Ploceus katangae

IUCN: Least concern     Discovery: 112

Categories: wetland,
News items about species


Katanga Masked Weaver
Katanga Masked Weaver,
figure from Benson 1971b
Katanga Masked Weaver
Katanga Masked Weaver,
type specimens
Katanga Masked Weaver map
Katanga Masked Weaver
distribution, type locality circled


The Katanga Masked Weaver was formally described by Rene K. Verheyen, a Belgian ornithologist.

The Katanga Masked Weaver was collected by Hans J Bredo, a Belgian government entomologist, who also collected many birds in Central Africa in the 1930s. Bredo wrote many papers on insects, especially locusts. Bredo collected two specimens, both adult males, of the Katanga Masked Weaver, near the station at Musosa, where he was based. Musosa, NE of Lake Mwero, was part of the Belgian Congo (in Katanga Province) but now lies just within the borders of Zambia.

The Katanga Masked Weaver was described as a subspecies of the Southern Masked Weaver by Verheyen. This has been followed by many authors initially, but it is considered a separate species by a growing number of authors.

The Katanga Masked Weaver was first illustrated by Benson 1971b as a colour painting of a male. The next illustration of the species was published in Mackworth 1973a, showing both male and female.

Scientific citation

Sitagra velata katangae Verheyen 1947a, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Belge 23(10) p.3, Musosa, Belgian Congo.

Meaning of names

katangae, Named after Katanga Province, Belgian Congo (Shaba Province, Zaire).

First English name

Katanga Masked Weaver (Howard 1984a).

Alternate names



Hans J Bredo.

Date collected

Dec 1940.

Locality collected

Musosa, Zambia.

Type specimens

The types are in the Museum of Natural Sciences in Belgium (IRSNB_3161 and 3162).

The above is based on Weaver Wednesday 2, a weekly series about the discovery of each weaver species.
This species text first appeared as Weaver Wednesday [229] - Discovery [112]: Katanga Masked Weaver on 2016-11-02

1. Basic biology

Katanga Masked Weaver
Katanga Masked Weaver male,
figure from Birdpix
Identification. The Katanga Masked Weaver breeding male is yellow with a black mask. It is distinguished from the Southern Masked Weaver by having more saffron around the mask, less black on forehead, and a darker green back. It has much less saffron around the mask than in the Tanganyika Masked Weaver and the Lufira Masked Weaver. The yellow green rump is conspicuous in flight. Female and young birds are dull coloured. This species is smaller than the Southern Masked Weaver.

Distribution. The Katanga Masked Weaver is found in DRCongo and Zambia (see map below, based on Birds of Africa). There are 2 subspecies:
P. k. katangae in Zambia and in DRCongo along the Luapula River (see red on map).
P. k. upembae, in SE DRCongo (Lualaba River) (see blue on map). This race has a longer bill than the nominate, the male has a greenish nape, and the female has more olive on the mantle. This race is sometimes considered to be a separate species, as indicated by preliminary molecular data. Katanga Masked Weaver map
The Katanga Masked Weaver has a very localized distribution and population size is unknown.

Habitat. The Katanga Masked Weaver inhabits swampy areas, especially when breeding. When not breeding, it may move locally to join mixed bird parties in miombo woodland up to 7 km from water, while others remain in the swamps.

Food. The diet of the Katanga Masked Weaver is unrecorded but it probably feeds on seeds and insects.

phown 12088
Katanga Masked Weaver colony,
figure from PHOWN

Breeding. The Katanga Masked Weaver is probably polygynous, and it breeds in small colonies although solitary nests with 1 male per site also occur. The nest is kidney-shaped with the entrance below and no tunnel, being similar to that of Southern Masked Weaver. Nests are placed in reed and papyrus beds in swamps, or in bushes or trees near lakes.

The eggs (1-2) are pale greenish or greenish blue, spotted with bright brown and light chestnut spots.

The above is based on Weaver Wednesday, a weekly series about weaver species.
This species text first appeared as Weaver Wednesday [113]: Katanga Masked Weaver on 2014-08-13

2. Breeding facts

Pair bond
presumably polygynous
Breeding season
Jan-Mar in DRCongo and Sept-Oct and Mar in Zambia
Nest site
in reeds or papyrus, or in tree or bush near water
Nest building
no information
Colony size
In small colonies, but solitary nests also noted
Clutch size
1-2 eggs
Egg colour
pale greenish to greenish-blue with very fine brown or chestnut-brown spotting
Egg size
average size of nine eggs 19.2 x 13.5 mm (Zambia)
no information
Chicks and nestling period
no information

Breeding information based on Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 15.

3. Photos of Weaver Nests

Vm 25074

Vm 25073

Vm 25072

Vm 25071

Vm 12088

Thumb-nails of most recent PHOWN records - click on one to see its full record
See all PHOWN records for this species here.

PHOWN (Photos of Weaver Nests) provides valuable info on breeding distribution and colony sizes of weavers.
You can contribute by registering and submitting photos at Virtual Museum webpage.

4. Breeding distribution

Google map showing distribution (For species with small ranges you need to zoom in at the correct area to see the range):
yellow blob - range of weaver species; read more about this here.
- PHOWN records with photos
- PHOWN records with no photos (Nest Record Cards, other records)
- Birdpix records
- comments on out of range records, or interesting records
- type locality
CLICK on the marker on the map to see individual record details.

5. Range changes

Not South African species

The above is based on Weaver Wednesday 3, a weekly series about range changes in South African weaver species.
This species text first appeared as n/a