Weaver species category

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Weavers as pests

Sorghum field, often attacked by weavers
Many weavers are seed eaters and may thus feed on small grain monoculture crops causing economic losses to agriculture. Important crops that are attacked by weavers include like wheat, millet, sorghum and rice. There are major pests in Africa (several species), southern Asia (Baya Weaver) and in the Indian Ocean islands (Red Fody). Many of the seed-eating weavers are nomadic opportunists, and can move some distance in flocks to concentrate at crops. Some weavers are pests on other crops, eg. cultivated fruit especially grapes.

The greatest avian pest is the Red-billed Quelea because it is so abundant in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more about the quelea here, a listing of news articles including stories about its pest status.

Although may weavers are an agricultural pest at times and in certain locations, they also provide useful ecosystem functions (read here).

The lists below give an indication of the species that have been recorded as agricultural pests, but the list is not necessarily exhaustive. Interestingly, one species - the Rodrigues Fody - seems to have changed from being granivorous, to an insect diet after the introduction of the Madagascar Fody in the 19th century (Cheke and Hume 2008, Lost land of the Dodo, p42).

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Red-billed Queleas at cattle feedlot
by John Fincham

Weavers that are major agricultural pests (at least in parts of their range)
Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea
Village Weaver Ploceus cucullatus
Red-headed Quelea Quelea erythrops
Black-headed Weaver Ploceus melanocephalus
Chestnut Weaver Ploceus rubiginosus
Northern Red Bishop Euplectes franciscanus
Southern Red Bishop Euplectes orix
Red Fody Foudia madagascariensis
Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus

Weavers that are moderate agricultural pests
Yellow-crowned Bishop Euplectes afer
Yellow-mantled Widowbird Euplectes macroura
Fan-tailed Widowbird Euplectes axillaris
Vieillot's Black Weaver Ploceus nigerrimus
Vitelline Masked Weaver Ploceus vitellinus
White-billed Buffalo-Weaver Bubalornis albirostris
Golden Palm Weaver Ploceus bojeri
Ruppell's Weaver Ploceus galbula

Red-billed Quelea flock leaving their roost

Weavers that are minor agricultural pests
Cape Weaver Ploceus capensis
Eastern Golden Weaver Ploceus subaureus
Holub's Golden Weaver Ploceus xanthops
Southern Masked Weaver Ploceus velatus
Thick-billed Weaver Amblyospiza albifrons
Cardinal Quelea Quelea cardinalis
Black-winged Bishop Euplectes hordeaceus
Yellow Bishop Euplectes capensis
Red-collared Widowbird Euplectes ardens
White-winged Widowbird Euplectes albonotatus
Jackson's Widowbird Euplectes jacksoni
Cinnamon Weaver Ploceus badius
Heuglin's Masked Weaver Ploceus heuglini
Northern Masked Weaver Ploceus taeniopterus