Wonderful Weavers Of South Africa

Movers and Shakers In Genus Ploceus

Smaller birds seek protection in numbers, many eyes watching for danger while feeding on the floor, agile disappearing into trees close by when disturbed.

Almost in unison all species lift off, returning immediately perceived danger has passed.

Like ballerinas, whirring wings they lightly take to flight. Most are seed eaters, with nectar and arthropods added when available. Slightly vary in size, reasonably happy in sharing space.

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Considering the genus Ploceus have 63 species, of which 57 of these species are in Africa, please excuse me if I am not always totally accurate in description of birds even after researching our wonderful weavers.

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Holub's Golden Weaver (Ploceus xanthops), chestnut head extending down to the chest, black beak with yellow eyes,female looks similar. Monogamous birds, build kidney shaped nest which has no tunnel rather a verandah, builds in tree branches or reeds normally close to water.

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Holub's Golden Weaver or African Golden Weaver

African Golden-Weaver (Ploceus subaureus), endemic to Africa East from Kenya down to South Africa. Monogamous bird that is territorial, another weaver with kidney shaped nest not funnel doorway preferring a verandah.

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Weaver Nests: Left: Cape Weaver - Right: Thick-billed Weaver

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With all these birds on the ground before me, my choice would be the Cape weaver endemic to South Africa, wide spread throughout our country except extremely dry areas.

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Possibly Cape Weaver with Village Weavers with mask

Cape weaver (Ploceus Capensis) similar in size to the Golden weaver with some light variation, polygynous bird will weave a few nests then attract females who inspect for strength before accepting the offer to settle down. Once nest is acceptable she will line the inside according to her desires, male will then continue to construct by adding funnel doorway.

It is said pollen collected stained their bright colour around the head, what a lovely thought, these busy birds work so hard pollinating our earth, having fun in between.

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Southern Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus), yellow forehead and crown, black only goes up to forehead, with red eye. The female slightly pale dirty white belly, mottled back with black beak, brown eyes being one of many in his harem being a polygynous bird.

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Southern Masked Weaver

Village weaver (Ploceus cucullatus) another masked weaver with yellow crown, black bill and red eye, here I am going on the nest in the back ground to this being the bird I am looking at. Another is the blotched back although some distance between us with him building between the reeds.

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Village Weaver

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Thick-billed weaver (Amblyospiza albifrons) or Grosbeak weaver, has extremely strong mandible making for easy identification, males have white spots above the black bill. Intricately woven nests normally between two upright reeds are built to attract females being a polygynous bird.

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Thick-billed Weaver

Females incubate and raises the chicks, in nest with door toward top side of the nest, although it looks finely weaved is not as complex as other weaver birds.

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Thick-billed Weaver

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Part of the same family is the Red-collared Widowbird (Euplectes ardens) bragging a red badge and long black tail to attract females, sexual lures.

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Red-collared Widowbird still changing to stud status

Polygnuous bird that will fight for territory since he does little else than show off grandeur, females stand to gain benefits by picking higher quality males to produce strong offspring, not suffering having to share territory.

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Red-collared Widowbird matured

Long tail will require maximum fitness to maintain flight, slight breeze throwing the bird off course. Males will indicate good places to nest, female does the nest building, incubating, feeding and raring of chicks.

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Red-collared Widowbird

Thanks for hanging in there, if you think the males are difficult to identify, try the females and keep having fun in the kingdom of feathers!

Additional information sourced from Weaver Birds together with Avibase

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All photography my own using Canon Powershot SX730 HS camera . Any queries or requests please drop a comment below or make contact with me, have a wonderful day! Photography without tripod, go with the flow wherever life takes you. NB: Amateur photographer and bird watcher, keep smiling!

Thought for Today: "A feather is just a delicate thing when removed from a bird because it carries the bird everywhere in the world." - African Proverb

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by @barbara-orenya


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