Ploceidae

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Weavers
Lesser Masked Weaver RWD.jpg
Male southern masked weaver (Ploceus velatus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Family: Ploceidae
Sundevall, 1836
Genera

See text.

Weavers and nests in western India
Rufous-tailed weaver in Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania.
Red-headed malimbe in Uganda.
Village weaver colony in The Gambia. The nests are the spherical suspended objects.
Weaver in Northern India
Weaver nest in Malaysia
Southern masked weaver building is nest. Etosha NP, Namibia.

The Ploceidae, or weavers, are small passerine birds related to the finches.

Biology[edit]

These are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills, most of which are from Sub-Saharan Africa, with fewer species in tropical Asia. A few species have been introduced outside their native range.[1] The weaver group is divided into the buffalo, sparrow, typical, and widow weavers. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season.

Weaver birds, also known as weaver finches, get their name because of their elaborately woven nests (the most elaborate of any birds'), though some are notable for their selective parasitic nesting habits. The nests vary in size, shape, material used, and construction techniques from species to species. Materials used for building nests include fine leaf-fibers, grass, and twigs. Many species weave very fine nests using thin strands of leaf fiber, though some, like the buffalo-weavers, form massive untidy stick nests in their colonies, which may have spherical woven nests within. The sparrow weavers of Africa build apartment-house nests, in which 100 to 300 pairs have separate flask-shaped chambers entered by tubes at the bottom. Most species weave nests that have narrow entrances, facing downward.

Many weaver species are gregarious and breed colonially.[1] The birds build their nests together for protection, often several to a branch. Usually the male birds weave the nests and use them as a form of display to lure prospective females. The weaver bird colonies may be found close to water bodies. They sometimes cause crop damage, notably the red-billed quelea, reputed to be the world's most numerous bird.[2][3]

Phylogeny[edit]

These species are not closely related to the sparrows (Passeridae) nor to the Emberizidae, according to Luis Allende and colleagues.[4][5]

Species list[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Craig, Adrian (2010). "Family Ploceidae (Weavers)". In del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; and Christie, D. A. Handbook of the Birds of the World 15. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 74–197. 
  2. ^ Fry, C.H. & Keith, S. (2004) The birds of Africa vol. VII. Christopher Helm, London
  3. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Quelea quelea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Allende, Luis M.; Rubio, Isabel; Ruíz-del-Valle, Valentin; Guillén, Jesus; Martínez-Laso, Jorge; Lowy, Ernesto; Varela, Pilar; Zamora, Jorge; Arnaiz-Villena, Antonio (2001). "The Old World sparrows (genus Passer) phylogeography and their relative abundance of nuclear mtDNA pseudogenes" (PDF). Journal of Molecular Evolution 53 (2): 144–154. PMID 11479685. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. 
  5. ^ Arnaiz-Villena, A; Gómez-Prieto P; Ruiz-de-Valle V (2009). "Phylogeography of finches and sparrows". Nova Science Publishers. ISBN 978-1-60741-844--3.