The weaver family

There are 117 living species in the weaver bird family (Ploceidae), excluding the sparrows of genus Passer, see species list here. The family is distributed through sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. It is a diverse group, illustrated by these extremes. The pest Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea has a population of about 1500 million birds, and may be the most numerous land-bird in the world. Contrast this with the rarest weaver, the threatened Mauritius Fody Foudia rubra, with 210-250 birds. The smallest weaver is the Zanzibar Red Bishop Euplectes nigroventris (wing of female 52-59 mm) while the largest is the Long-tailed Widow Euplectes progne (wing of male 124-158 mm). Many species are brightly coloured while the females and non-breeding males in other species are nondescript and difficult to identify.

Weaver nests

There are 15 genera of weavers, which could be divided into 3 groups as shown below. Buffalo weavers build stick nests, sparrow weavers build nests of dry grass, and the true weavers weave nests usually of fresh vegetation.

taxonomy and nests