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Southern Masked Weaver - BirdForum Opus

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Photo by Max Holdt
Windhoek, Namibia, November 2005

Alternative name: African Masked Weaver
Includes Vetelline Weaver

Ploceus velatus


Photo by AHH
Johannesburg, South Africa, October 2007

Length: 13 cm (5 in), mass 29-45 g. Males larger than females

Breeding male:

  • face, throat and beak black. Black extends above beak base in a band
  • eye red
  • head and underparts bright yellow
  • back plain yellowish-green
  • bill short, strong, conical
  • legs pink-brown

Adult female and non-breeding male:

  • bill pink-brown (not grey contra one field guide)
  • throat yellow or orangey fading to off-white on the belly
  • brown or red-brown eye
  • upper parts yellow-olive, streaked darker on the upper back
  • rump diffuse yellowish (not extensive or marked)

The non-breeding male resembles the female but retains the red eye.

Juvenile: Similar to the female.

Similar species

Some Village Weavers have a black mask similar to the mask of this species, but they do not have black above the bill.


Western Africa: Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola
Eastern Africa: Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and eSwatini.



Photo by mikemik
Tarangire park, Tanzania, April 2018
Photo by rony_roshtov
Etosha, Namibia, October 2005

Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:

Subspecies tahatali, shelleyi, caurinus and finschi are not recognised by all authorities [2].


Shrubland, savanna, grassland, coastal fynbos, open woodland, inland wetlands, semi-desert areas, suburban gardens, and parks.



The diet includes insects, seeds and nectar, and it will come to feeding tables.


They nest singly or in small colonies, mainly from September to January. The males build up to 15 nests in a season and have several female partners. The nests are woven from reed, palm or grass and built in a tree or in reeds. A female selects a nest and lines it with soft grass and feathers. One to six eggs are incubated for 12-14 days by the female.

Parasitised by Dideric Cuckoo.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

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