Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus
aka Black-headed Weaver (see Extra Facts) Appearance
Village Weavers are small, 6.5" (17cm) birds, although large, by Weaver standards. All birds have pink legs and feet. There are two sub-species in Kenya:
Western - Ploceus cucullatus bohndorffi
The breeding male has a black head and throat, terminating in a point, on the chest. The black is bordered by chestnut colour, especially on the nape of the neck. He is bright yellow from the hindnape to his rump, including the underparts, with heavy black scapulars (crescent shapes) and streaking on upperparts. He has bright red eyes and a black bill.
The breeding female has yellow underparts and face. She has an olive-yellow head and brownish dusky-striped upperparts. She has pale orange-red eyes.
The Non-breeding male has an olive-yellow head with a small amount of black striping. A yellow throat. The back is greyish and the underparts are yellow. His eyes are pale red and the bill horn-coloured.
The non-breeding female is similar to the male, but the face is all yellow, with no sign of black. She is more white below than the male.
Immature birds are similar to non-breeding adults, but more brown above and with brown eyes, becoming orange-red, then pale red.
Eastern - Ploceus cucullatus paroptus
, is a slightly smaller bird, with a smaller bill:
The breeding male has an entirely black head, including the nape. The back is yellow, heavily spotted with black. He has bright yellow underparts, bright red eyes and a black bill.
The breeding female resembles the Western race, as do non-breeding birds of both sexes. Habits
The Village Weaver is a highly gregarious bird, nesting in colonies on Acacia trees, often near habitation. Their nests hang from the end of a branch and are rounded, with the entrance either on the side, or facing downwards. The male hangs up-side-down, fluttering his wings to attract females. Diet
The Village Weaver has the typical bill for crushing seeds, but also eats insects and fruit. The young are fed almost exclusively on insects and breeding takes place at the beginning of the rains, to ensure supply. Resident
The Village Weaver is a common resident of bushed and wooded grassland from sea level to 2000 metres. Western race seen from Mt Elgon to Lake Victoria basin. Eastern race seen from Masai Mara GR, to Meru NP and down to north coast of Kenya. Extra Village Weaver Facts
The Village Weaver has a "chip-chip-chip" call and its song is like an electronic wheezing.
Named as the Village Weaver, because they reuse nests that are often in man's villages, returning annually.
The Village Weaver is referred to by some, as the Black-headed Weaver. However, many authorities, including the IOC
, have attributed the alternative 'Black-headed Weaver' to the Yellow-backed Weaver (Ploceues melanocephalus fischeri
Photographed in Kenya's Diani Beach and Karen, near Nairobi.