Southern masked weaver

The southern masked weaver (Ploceus velatus), or African masked weaver, is a resident breeding bird species common throughout southern Africa.

This weaver is very widespread and found in a wide range of habitats, including shrubland, savanna, grassland, open woodland, inland wetlands and semi-desert areas. It also occurs in suburban gardens and parks.

Southern masked weaver
Southern masked weaver (Ploceus velatus) male
Male, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa
Southern masked weaver (Ploceus velatus) female
Female, Erongo, Namibia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Ploceidae
Genus: Ploceus
Species:
P. velatus
Binomial name
Ploceus velatus
Vieillot, 1819
Leefgebied Ploceus velatus
Range

Description

The southern masked weaver is 11-14.5 cm long with a short, strong, conical bill and pinkish brown legs. The adult male in breeding plumage has a black face, throat and beak, red eye, bright yellow head and underparts, and a plain yellowish-green back,

The female has a pinkish-brown bill, brown or red-brown eye and is dull greenish-yellow, streaked darker on the upper back. The throat is yellowish, fading to off-white on the belly. The non-breeding male resembles the female but retains the red eye. The juvenile of this species is like the female.

The call is a harsh swizzling, similar to other weavers. It also utters a sharp chuk alarm note.

Behaviour and ecology

Breeding

The southern masked weaver nests in colonies, mainly from September to January. Males have several female partners, and build a succession of nests, typically 25 each season. The nests, like those of other weavers, are woven from reed, palm or grass. A female will line a selected nest with soft grass and feathers. The nest is built in a tree, often over water, but sometimes in suburbia. This weaver also nests in reeds.

The southern masked weaver lays eggs of a various colour and this helps it to evade parasitisation by cuckoos because the cuckoo has no way of knowing what kind of eggs are inside the weaver's nest until it has entered the nest to attempt to lay one itself. Eggs of the wrong colouration are ejected by the nest owners.[2][3]

Ploceus velatus -Johannesburg -male making nest-8

male starting to build nest, Johannesburg

Southern masked weaver (Ploceus velatus) male building nest composite

male building nest, Johannesburg

AQ8A1606

nests, Kruger National Park WRONG

Southern masked weaver nest building

Female southern masked weaver inspecting a male's partially built nest, Maasai Mara

Feeding

The southern masked weaver is usually seen singly or in small groups. It may also form larger flocks, alone or with other seed eating species. It eats insects, seeds and nectar, and will come to feeding tables.

References

  • Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1
  • SASOL e-guide
  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Ploceus velatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ PARASITISM OF THE MASKED WEAVER PLOCEUS VELATUS ARUNDINACEUSH C. Hunter Ostrich Vol. 32, Iss. 2, 2010
  3. ^ David Attenborough, The Life of Birds, Episode 8, 46 minutes 15 seconds ff

External links

Bannerman's weaver

Bannerman's weaver (Ploceus bannermani) is a species of bird in the weaver family, Ploceidae. It is found in Cameroon and Nigeria. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. It is threatened by habitat loss.Its scientific and common names honor the ornithologist David Armitage Bannerman.

Black-billed weaver

The black-billed weaver (Ploceus melanogaster) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae found in central Africa.

Bob-tailed weaver

The bob-tailed weaver (Brachycope anomala) is a species of bird in the Ploceidae family. It is monotypic within the genus Brachycope.

It is found in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Chestnut weaver

The chestnut weaver (Ploceus rubiginosus) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae.

It is found in eastern and south-western Africa.

Crested malimbe

The crested malimbe (Malimbus malimbicus) is a species of bird in the Ploceidae family.

It is found in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Uganda.

Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Little weaver

The little weaver (Ploceus luteolus) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae.

It is found in western, central and eastern Africa.

Marsh widowbird

The marsh widowbird (Euplectes hartlaubi) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae.

Maxwell's black weaver

The Maxwell's black weaver (Ploceus albinucha) is a species of bird in the Ploceidae family.

Ploceidae

Ploceidae is a family of small passerine birds, many of which are called weavers, weaverbirds, weaver finches and bishops. These names come from the nests of intricately woven vegetation created by birds in this family. In most recent classifications, Ploceidae is a clade, which excludes some birds that have historically been placed in the family, such as some of the sparrows, but which includes the monotypic subfamily Amblyospizinae. The family is believed to have originated in the mid-Miocene. All birds of the Ploceidae are native to the Old World, most in Africa south of the Sahara, though a few live in tropical areas of Asia. A few species have been introduced outside their native range.

Ploceus

Ploceus is a genus of birds in the weaver family, Ploceidae. They are native to the Indomalayan and Afrotropical realms.

Preuss's weaver

The Preuss's weaver (Ploceus preussi) is a species of bird in the Ploceidae family, which is native to the African tropics.

Red-headed malimbe

The red-headed malimbe (Malimbus rubricollis) is a species of bird in the Ploceidae family.

It is found in Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda.

Slender-billed weaver

The slender-billed weaver (Ploceus pelzelni) is a species of bird in the weaver family, Ploceidae.

It is found in central and western Africa.

Southern brown-throated weaver

The southern brown-throated weaver (Ploceus xanthopterus) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae.

It is found in southern Africa.

Speckle-fronted weaver

The speckle-fronted weaver (Sporopipes frontalis) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae.

It is found in Africa from Mauritania and Gambia in the west to Ethiopia and Tanzania in the east.

Its natural habitat is dry savanna.

Strange weaver

The strange weaver (Ploceus alienus) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae.

It is found in the Albertine Rift montane forests.

Vieillot's black weaver

Vieillot's black weaver (Ploceus nigerrimus) is a species of bird in the family Ploceidae. It is named after the French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot.

Vitelline masked weaver

The vitelline masked weaver (Ploceus vitellinus) is a species of bird in the Ploceidae family.

It is found in western, central and eastern Africa.

Genus
Bubalornis
Dinemellia
Sporopipes
Plocepasser
Histurgops
Pseudonigrita
Philetairus
Ploceus
Pachyphantes
Malimbus
Anaplectes
Brachycope
Quelea
Foudia
Euplectes
Anomalospiza
Amblyospiza

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