Thickbilled weaver

Amblyospiza albifrons subfamily

Ploceinae taxonomy

Pyrrhula albifrons Vigors, 1831, Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

other common names

English: Grosbeak weaver; French: Grosbec a front blanc; German: Weifistirnweber; Spanish: Tejedor de Pico Grueso.

physical characteristics

6.7-7.5 in (17-19 cm); female 1.1-1.6 oz (31-45 g), male 1.5-2.1 oz (43-60 g). Breeding male chocolate brown with white forehead, white patch in wing conspicuous in flight. Heavy black bill. White on forehead variable, absent in non-breeding plumage. Female has brown upperparts, underparts white heavily streaked with brown. Heavy yellowish bill. Juvenile like female, more rufous above and buffy below. Bill dull brown.

distribution

Sierra Leone east to southern Sudan, western Ethiopia, south to northern Namibia, northern Botswana, eastern Zimbabwe, and eastern South Africa.

habitat

Reedbeds, cultivated areas, plantation, and forest.

behavior

Gregarious, roosting in reedbeds and breeding there. Flocks move daily up to 19 mi (30 km) to forage when not breeding.

feeding ecology and diet

Fruit, seeds, including large, hard-shelled seeds, and insects. In non-breeding season often forages in forest, feeding on fruit in canopy, also on the ground.

reproductive biology

Colonial, some males polygynous. Nest highly distinctive, woven of very fine reed strips, slung between upright stems, with large side entrance. Built by male; once female accepts nest, male reduces entrance to a narrow circular hole. Female lines nest. Lays two to five eggs in summer. Incubation 14-16 days, fledging 19-22 days. Female alone incubates, feeds young.

conservation status

Not threatened; widespread and range expanding in some areas such as Zimbabwe and South Africa.

significance to humans None known. ♦

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