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Sociable Weaver - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Max Holdt
Location: Waterberg, Namibia

Alternative name: Social Weaver

Philetairus socius

Identification

Length 14 cm, mass 24-32 g.

Adult: Lores, base of bill and throat patch black; flanks with black scales; back with brown scales; bill pale, eyes brown.

Distribution

South Africa to Namibia and Botswana.

Taxonomy

This species is either monotypic2 or has up to four1 recognized subspecies: socius, geminus, lepidus and xericus.

Habitat

Open savanna grassland containing large trees.

Nests of a Sociable Weaver colony
Photo by Hauer
Northern Cape, South Africa, 2002

Behaviour

Their diet includes insects, particularly the harvester termites, and seeds.

Breeding

Sociable weavers are unlike most other birds due to their lifestyle and nest building: they weave one nest for their entire colony as well as for future residents. Different materials are used for different purposes. Large twigs form the roof of the nest, dry grasses create the separate chambers, and sharp spikes of straw protect the entrance tunnels from predators. Nesting chambers are lined from top to bottom with soft plant material, fur, cotton, and fluff. There are entrance tunnels for the different chambers and these tunnels can be up to 25 cm long. The nest chambers are about 10cm in diameter. There can be between 5 - 100 nest chambers per nest, providing home for 10 - 400 birds.

References

  1. Clements JF. 2007. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to October 2007. Cornell University Press. ISBN 9780801445019
  2. Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ & Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Robert's Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edition. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa. ISBN 0620340533

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