Sunday, 5 December 2010

Village weaver

Ploceus cucullatus

Common name:
village weaver (en); tecelão-malhado (pt); tisserin gendarme (fr); tejedor de la villa (es); dorfweber (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Ploceidae

The village weaver is an African species found south of the Sahara. They are found throughout the Sahel and towards the south down to Angola in the west and down to Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa in the east. The species has been introduced to Mauritius, Réunion and to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.

This stocky weaver is 15-17 cm long with males being slightly larger than females. They have a wingspan of 24-25 cm and weigh 32-45 g.

They are found in a wide range of open and semi-open habitats, including sparse woodlands, forest edges, savannas, along rivers and streams, in agricultural areas and in gardens and parks within human settlements.

Village weavers mostly eat seeds and grains, often becoming a crop pest. They also eat green vegetation and fruits and may also take insects, especially when feeding the young, which partially compensate the damage to agriculture.

The village weaver usually nests during the rainy season. These colonial breeders weave a nest suspended on the branch of a tree or in reeds. Each tree has a large number of nests. The male builds the nest, a coarsely woven globular structure, built with grasses and leaf strips, with a short entrance tube pointing downwards. The female lays 2-3 eggs and incubates the eggs alone for about 13 days. The chicks are fed by the female alone and fledge after 18 days.

IUCN status - LC (Least concern)
The village weaver has an extremely wide breeding range and is described as abundant throughout this range. The population is believed to be stable and there is no evidence for any substantial threats.

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