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Weaver from N´Djamena, Chad (1 Viewer)

michael-ibk

Well-known member
Another bird that is giving me a headache. Taken 10 days ago in the capital, right by the river. Looks very brown and is clearly not in breeding plumage. A good example of how deceiving photos can be - in some the eyes look completely black but different angles reveal they are actually pale. Yellowish Weavers in roughly this area of Africa include Spectacled, Village, Vitelline Masked, Heuglin´s Masked, Little, Dark-Backed, Black-Necked, Black-Headed and Vieillot´s Black Weaver according to Sinclair. Northern Masked Weaver has also been confirmed for Chad.

I´ve never seen a plumage quite like this, mainly based on eye and leg colour I´d say Heuglin´s Masked Weaver but not sure at all. Or am I on a completely wrong track? Thoughts?
 

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RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
A good example of how deceiving photos can be - in some the eyes look completely black but different angles reveal they are actually pale.
Thoughts?
You have at least 2 different individuals there, that's why the eyes look pale on photo#2: it's really a different bird from photos #1 and 3 (on plumage details), not a photo artifact. Juvenile weavers of many species have dark eyes.
They look like Black-headed Weavers to me, but I haven't checked properly the other possible species.
 

RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
Adult females have greyish/silvery eyes, at least on some (if not all) populations. It has been discussed elsewhere in this forum that the field guides seem to be wrong in that respect. Males have "always" dark eyes, but in some populations (e.g. the introduced birds in Portugal) have exceptionally also grey, almost whitish, eyes. The confusion in field guides might have arisen from the fact 1st year males look like females (though they have dark eyes) and in the eclipse plumage both males and females look alike, although the eyes remain dark in the males. I was trying to find the relevant threads where this has been discussed here, but failed so far.
 

BirdingRob

Brit abroad
Rafael,

What you are saying about the eye colour of a black-headed weaver is important to me when I try to distinguish between non breeding male and female black-headed weavers and village weavers where I bird in Mauritania. I have been using the main regional guide (first edition) which shows non-breeding male and female black-headed weaver with a very pale eye. if the male is in reality always dark, what is the usual colour of a female black-headed weaver? If it is grey in some populations, what is it in others?
 

RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
Rafael,

What you are saying about the eye colour of a black-headed weaver is important to me when I try to distinguish between non breeding male and female black-headed weavers and village weavers where I bird in Mauritania. I have been using the main regional guide (first edition) which shows non-breeding male and female black-headed weaver with a very pale eye. if the male is in reality always dark, what is the usual colour of a female black-headed weaver? If it is grey in some populations, what is it in others?

Managed to find the thread I mentioned above:
https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=268411

Male BHW can certainly have paler eyes in eclipse plumage (contra what I just wrote above), but I don't understand it properly (not all have paler eyes, definitely). It's all quite variable it seems, but the norm is females with pale eyes, males with darker eyes.
In breeding plumage, besides the extreme, white eyed individuals, from the above linked thread, there are many birds like this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jsousa/3095623454/

What field guide are you referring to? The Gambia and Senegal FG (Barlow et al) show grey eyed females.
 

RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
Rafael,

I am referring to Birds of Western Africa. It shows a non-breeding male with a very pale eye.

Rob

Thanks Rob. Yes, indeed it does. But the main text is not very clear in that respect. It says, that adult breeding males have "creamy or brown" eyes. But then when describing the non-breeding male it doesn't say that the eyes are always pale (it actually doesn't mention the eyes). This makes me think that non-breeding males can also have brown eyes. The females are not illustrated, unfortunately, and are described as similar to the non-breeding male, which is true, but I feel there's a bit of an oversimplification here, especially when the juv is also described as identical to the females (which is not true: dark eyes, fresh and very uniform plumage when that of females is more worn and contrasting, etc...). I think there's still lots to be learnt in weaver ID. Identifying a weaver shouldn't be more complicated than to separating e.g. Common from Iberian Chiffchaff, but for the moment it can be very difficult using the available literature.
 

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