Ploceidae

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Weavers
Black-headed weaver (Ploceus cucullatus bohndorffi) male nest building.jpg
A male village weaver (Ploceus cucullatus bohndorffi), building his nest
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Superfamily: Passeroidea
Family: Ploceidae
Sundevall, 1836
Genera

See text.

The Ploceidae are a family of small passerine birds, many of which are called weavers or weaverbirds. This name comes from the nests of intricately woven vegetation that many birds of the family make. The family as defined by most recent classifications is a monophyletic clade, excluding some birds that have historically been placed in the family, such as some of the sparrows, and including the monotypic subfamily Amblyospizinae. The family is believed to have originated in the mid-Miocene.[1] 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.[2]

Biology[edit]

These are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The family 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.

Weavers get their name because of their elaborately woven nests, 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 sociable weavers of Africa build apartment-house nests, in which 100 to 300 pairs have separate flask-shaped chambers entered by tubes at the bottom. The sparrow weavers live in family units that employ cooperative breeding.[3] Most species weave nests that have narrow entrances, facing downward.

Many weaver species are gregarious and breed colonially.[2] 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 weaverbird 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.[4][5]

Phylogeny[edit]

The family Ploceidae was introduced (as Ploceïdes) by the Swedish zoologist Carl Jakob Sundevall in 1836.[6][7] These species are not closely related to the sparrows (Passeridae) nor to the Emberizidae, according to Luis Allende and colleagues.[8][9]

Species list[edit]

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

Weaver nests[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ De Silva, Thilina N.; Peterson, A. Townsend; Bates, John M.; Fernando, Sumudu W.; Girard, Matthew G. (April 2017). "Phylogenetic relationships of weaverbirds (Aves: Ploceidae): A first robust phylogeny based on mitochondrial and nuclear markers". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 109: 21–32. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.12.013. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Craig, Adrian (2010). "Family Ploceidae (Weavers)". In del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. A. Handbook of the Birds of the World. 15. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 74–197. 
  3. ^ a b Lewis, Dale M. (3 April 2008). "Cooperative breeding in a population of White-browed Weavers Plocepasser mahali". Ibis. 124 (4): 511–522. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1982.tb03795.x. Retrieved 29 August 2017. 
  4. ^ Fry, C.H. & Keith, S. (2004) The birds of Africa vol. VII. Christopher Helm, London
  5. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Quelea quelea". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Bock, Walter J. (1994). History and Nomenclature of Avian Family-Group Names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. Number 222. New York: American Museum of Natural History. pp. 157, 260. 
  7. ^ Sundevall, Carl Jakob (1836). "Ornithologiskt system". Kongliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlingar: 43-130 [74]. 
  8. ^ 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 (PDF) on 21 July 2011. 
  9. ^ 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.