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Weaver Bird

Last updated date: 25th Feb 2024
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Weaver Bird Information

Weaver birds are a flock of several families of small passerine birds which are closely linked to the finches. Majority of weaver birds (plumages commonly) are yellow, but there are some in red, black or brown varieties while females are often dull brown colours. They are often known for their construction of embellished nests.

A weaverbird is a small bird from the family Ploceidae. They are chiefly tropical, Old World species eminent for their nest building abilities. All species construct domed nests, occasionally with long entrance tunnels. True weavers construct imperishable nests with embellished weaving and knotting grass and reed blades. Weavers are mainly seed eaters with conical bills, though some species contain more slender bills for consuming insects. The Sociable Weaver constructs the biggest communal bird nest. The Red-billed Quelea is the most copious land-bird.

The main groups of weavers include: true (Ploceus) weavers, buffalo weavers, social weavers, sparrow weavers, bishops, fodies, malimbes, queleas, and widows.

Their blunt, conical bills allow them to easily feast on seeds and grain, with some weaver birds, like the red-billed quelea featured below, demonstrating an immense issue for crop farmers.    


Weaver Birds Scientific Classification











Interesting Facts About the Weaver Birds

  • There are numerous species of Weavers, with different traits, behaviours, and adaptations.

  • Most common of weavers are the Ploceidae weaver finches, having 64 individual species.

  • Most weaver finches can be discovered in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 5 Asian and 2 Madagascan species.

  • The Weaver consists of a group of birds which compose the Ploceidae family. The yellow weaver bird acquired its name from the unique way that they construct their nests.

  • These little birds take reeds, grasses, and other vegetation, and cautiously weave them together to build their elaborate nests.

  • Many weaver nests are suspended or hung off of branches in a basket making an orb shape.

Quick Incredible Facts About Weaver Nests

  • Male weavers are solely responsible to be the nest builders.

  • Weaver birds are the only birds documented with the ability to tie knots.

  • The weaver nest is non-breeding, i.e. no lining in the chamber. Breeding nests may be used by other birds or animals to rest or breed in, and thus should not be taken

  • Sociable weaver nests are the massive structures constructed by birds.

  • Some groups of red-billed quelea are so huge they can take 5 hours to pass.

  • The weaver nest is usually on the ground since it can be broken off by the weather or weavers themselves

  • The weavers do not breed in winter

  • nests may not be taken if you are in a nature reserve (even if on the ground)

  • you require permission from the land-owner.

Types of Weaver Birds

There are a number of species of this village weaver birds. Thus, there are different types of weaver birds, of which the most popular are listed below.

  1. White-Headed Buffalo Weaver – The bird already has a descriptive name with its name like “the White-Headed Buffalo”. This species of weaver bird does indeed have a white head, accompanied with black wings, red shoulders, and red beneath its tail. Their favourite pastime is going after African buffalo around the savanna, and munching on the insects that the massive mammals stir up.

  2. Southern Masked Weaver – The Southern Masked species displays an attractive yellow plumage and an illustrious black patch of feathers across its face. Throughout the edge of the black feathers they consist of red accents, along with bright red eyes. Female Southern Masks do not have the flashy plumage that males do, and they look like any baby brown finch.

  3. Sociable Weaver – If you think you’re the one to know how to socialise well, think again! This species does not only construct the most alluring nest, but it is known to build one of the largest in the world. A single Sociable Weaver nest occasionally contains well over a hundred pairs of birds! They use the communal nest continually year after year.

  4. Montane Widowbird – The Montane Widowbird is distinctive from some of its finch-like cousins. Male Widow Birds have attractive long tails, but only during the breeding season. Towing around a lengthy tail is a tough task. And when the male montane does not need to impress the females anymore, he ditches the tail!

  5. Red-Billed Quelea - World's most abundant wild bird, the number of red-billed quelea is estimated in some billions, as high as even 10 billion! Found across sub-Saharan Africa, besides the forests and the southern tip, they can gather in huge swarms that can clear swathes of crops, proving to be an enormously destructive pest. Some extreme techniques used to control red-billed quelea include the burning of roosting colonies with napalm.

Habitat of the Golden Weaver

Different Weaver species are native to different kinds of ecosystems. Some reside on the dry savannas and grasslands of Africa while others prefer to live in dense rainforests high in the mountains.

Some of the several habitats that these village birds live in include grasslands, wetlands, swamps, meadows, mangroves, forests, rainforests, and riparian areas on the edges of rivers, lakes, and streams. Some only inhabit a few kinds of ecosystems, while others live in a great variety of habitats.

 Distribution of the Weaver

A huge majority of Weaver species live in Africa, although some species also live in Asia. In Africa, they span across from the southern edge of the Sahara Desert to the southern tip of the continent. Many species are native to the tropical areas of Africa, though they live all throughout the continent.

Diet of the Weaver

The Weaver diet differs from species to species. Most are chiefly herbivorous, and consume mostly seeds, but they also ingest insects and invertebrates. The proportion of their diet is based on the species. For some species, seeds make up the huge majority of the diet. In other species, insects make up a more considerable percentage.

Some of their principal plant food sources include nuts, grains, weed seeds, nectar from flowers, and more. Insectivorous species eat a huge variety of invertebrates, such as flies, mosquitoes, locusts, spiders, grasshoppers, and more.

Baya Bird Nests

Weaver nests are outstanding structures.

Most weaver nests of some species are cylindrical in shape, with narrow entrances facing downward which are generally situated over or next to water.

Making sure that the entrance faces downwards and is as narrow as possible puts off predators and thieves. Some nests even consist of a long tube, stretching out to the entrance further underneath the nest body.

Having selected a prime location for their nest, the weaver bird begins to loop and weave strings of grass or strips of leaves encompassing the ends of one or two branches in a tree. Having created a looped foundation for the nest body, the yellow weaver bird then constructs the hollow body before adding the tubular entrance last.

The males of this species are actually the main weavers, leaving the females with the accountability of choosing their breeding partner. They do this depending on the design, location, and comparative comfort of the nest that ensures the good genetic quality for the father of her offspring along with a secured home for her eggs.

Life Span of Weaver Birds

Wondering how old do weaver birds become? Many weaver birds can reach 10 to 15 years of age. The oldest weaver was a Village Weaver in the wild that was at least 14 years old. In imprisonment, weavers can become even older, up to 24 years old with respect to a Village Weaver. In the wild, the only way to identify how old weavers become is by ringing birds and waiting for a few of them to be reimprisoned or found dead. Some of the records of weaver ages are low since there has not been adequate ringing for those species yet. 

FAQs on Weaver Bird

1. How to Identify or Distinguish a Weaver?

Answer: Weavers vary hugely in colour, size, shape, and within the family. There are over a hundred different species recognized by researchers! Many species are small, stout, and finch-like, but each is unlike the other.

Their plumage, or feathers, comes in a huge array of colours, including white, black, brown, red, yellow, tan, orange, and everything in between. Some consist of solid colourations with just a single colour, while others sport mottled plumage or distinctive colours on separate parts of their bodies.

2. Which is the Wildest Bird in the World of the Numerous Weavers?

Answer: Researchers conjecture that one Weaver species, the Red-Billed Quelea, is the most numerous wild bird species in the world. At its pinnacle, the population stands at estimated1.5 billion birds. This might not be quite humongous if they have resided in a wider geographic span, but these birds only live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Unfortunately, the natives call this bird the “feathered locust,” since a single flock can execute an entire farm of crops. The group commonly numbers in the millions, and they can easily ingest hundreds of thousands of pounds of seeds or grains in a day. People try to cast down the birds with scarecrows, fireworks, noise-making tools, to varying effectiveness.

3. How is Weaver and Human Interaction?

Answer: Humans and Weavers interact in different ways depending upon the species. Some species, like the Red-Billed Quelea, affect humans in a negative fashion. For other species, humans are a serious threat.

Irrespective of the species, the biggest danger to most populations is habitat destruction. But, some species actually reap advantage from human interaction by utilizing manmade structures and regions for nesting and foraging.

4. How Important is a Nest for Sociable Weavers?

Answer: The sociable weaver of southern Africa constructs huge, permanent nests for a community of birds, generally discovered around regions where the stiff, dry grass they use as a building substance can be found. Some of these nests are the biggest structures built by birds.

Generally spread across the branches of certain trees, sociable weavers have also been known to have benefited from telegraph poles and other tall, man-made structures. The nests bear a resemblance to a pile of hay in the tree with entrance holes placed beneath in order to deter nest invaders.

Having said that, nests offer sociable weavers with a consistent environment for those who inhabit a region that experiences extreme fluctuation of climates. Safeguarded from extreme heat of the day and brisk night-time temperatures, sociable weavers can raise and nurture their young and cruise off extreme weather in relative comfort. It gives them the safety and belongingness that they are surrounded by members of their own species all the time. However, despite this "safety in numbers" it has been detected that nest raiding leads to 80% of young unable to make it to adulthood.

5. Where are Weaver Birds Found?

Answer: Weavers are mainly found in Africa south of the Sahara Desert, five species are discovered in southern Asia, and nine species are discovered on the Indian Ocean islands (Mauritius, Madagascar, Comores and Seychelles). More species of weavers are found in the countries closer to the equator.

Some weaver species have also been introduced to other countries, e.g. Australia, Spain and the West Indies off the North American coast.