Madagascar fody

Foudia madagascariensis subfamily

Ploceinae taxonomy

Loxia madagascariensis Linnaeus, 1766, Madagascar.

other common names

English: Red fody, Madagascar weaver; French: Foudi rouge, Foudi de Madagascar; German: Madagaskarweber; Spanish: Fodi del Madagascar.

physical characteristics

4.7-5.1 in (12-13 cm); both sexes 0.5-0.7 oz (14-19 g). Breeding male bright red, black line through eye, olive-brown wings and tail. Bill black. Female and non-breeding male olive-brown upperparts, gray-brown underparts. Bill horn-brown. Juvenile like female but more buffy in appearance.

distribution

Madagascar; introduced to Amirantes, Comoros, Seychelles, Mauritius, Réunion, St. Helena.

habitat

Open savanna, grassland, forest clearings, and cultivated areas; avoids intact forest.

behavior

Gregarious, foraging in flocks and roosting communally in sugarcane, bamboos, or trees. Solitary and territorial during breeding season.

feeding ecology and diet

Primarily a seed-eater, but also forages for insects in trees, and takes nectar.

reproductive biology

Solitary nests, monogamous. Nest is oval, upright with side entrance near top; woven by male, but female participates from early stages. Lays two to four eggs, breeding season from spring through summer to autumn. Female alone incubates, both sexes feed young. Incubation 11-14 days, fledging 15-16 days.

conservation status

Not threatened; thrives in human-modified habitats and has been introduced successfully to other regions.

significance to humans

An important pest in rice fields in Madagascar. Villagers use traditional cage traps, attempt to scare the birds away from the crops, and destroy nests. ♦

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