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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

See text.

Ploceidae is a family of small

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]

Taxonomy and systematics

The family Ploceidae was introduced (as Ploceïdes) by the Swedish zoologist

sister to a clade containing the families Viduidae and Estrildidae[5] Their common ancestor lived in the middle Miocene around 18 million years ago.[6]


The family includes 15 genera with a total of 118 species.

list of Ploceidae species

Image Genus Species
Red-billed Buffalo Weaver.jpg
Bubalornis A. Smith, 1836
Dinemellia dinemelli.jpg
Dinemellia Reichenbach, 1863
Plocepasser mahali -Baringo Lake, Kenya -male-8.jpg
A. Smith, 1836
Weaver bird.jpg
Histurgops Reichenow, 1887
Black-capped Social-Weaver - Samburu - Kenya S4E5139 (22836895922).jpg
Pseudonigrita Reichenow, 1903
Sociable weaver (Philetairus socius).jpg
Philetairus A. Smith, 1837
Speckle-fronted Weaver RWD4.jpg
Sporopipes Cabanis, 1847
Amblyospiza albifrons, w, vreet netel-dopvrugte, a, Skeerpoort.jpg
Amblyospiza Sundevall, 1850
Black-headed weaver (Ploceus cucullatus bohndorffi) male.jpg
Ploceus Cuvier, 1816
Crested Malimbe - Kakum - Ghana S4E1412 (22229307983).jpg
Malimbus Vieillot, 1805
Quelea erythrops -South Africa -building nest-8.jpg
Quelea Reichenbach, 1850
Red-headed Weaver male RWD.jpg
Anaplectes Reichenbach, 1863
Madagascar fody (Foudia madagascariensis).jpg
Reichenbach, 1850
Brachycope Reichenow, 1900
Euplectes progne male South Africa cropped.jpg
Euplectes Swainson, 1829


The males of many species in this family are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black. Some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season. These are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills.

Distribution and habitat

The weaverbird colonies may be found close to bodies of water.

Behaviour and ecology

Weavers are named for their elaborately woven nests. 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 live in family units that employ cooperative breeding.[8]
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.

Relationship to humans

They sometimes cause crop damage, notably the red-billed quelea, reputed to be the world's most numerous bird.[9][10]



Further reading

External links