Village weaver (Ploceus cucullatus)

Black-headed Weaver

In the walkthrough aviary at Fur, Feather & Scales

Fast facts

Status Least concern

Size 17cm

Weight 29-47g. Males tend to be heavier than females.

Gestation 12-14 days

Young 2-4

Life span 14 years in the wild, up to 24 years in captivity

What do I eat?

The village weaver is not a fussy eater, and will eat a variety of plants, fruits, seeds and invertebrates such as beetles, ants, termites and grasshoppers.

Where do I live?

These birds are mostly found in western, central and southern Africa. They live in a wide variety of habitats including bushy savannah, forest clearings, wetlands, wooded areas, and even in rural villages, as well as gardens in urban and suburban areas.

Breeding

Males will build nests in trees, roughly 6-18 metres above the ground, and will build them using different leaves, grasses and twigs. The nests of these birds are carefully made and are almost in the shape of a ball with a spout at the bottom to act as an entrance to the nest. It’s known that there can be more than 200 of these nests in a single tree!

These birds like to breed in large numbers, and a male can have many partners. Females often line the inside of the nest with different plants including leaves, grass-heads and feathers, and will lay 2-4 eggs within the nest. It is only the female that looks after the eggs and the chicks; the young birds will stay within the nest for 17-21 days before leaving.

Predators

Village weaver birds have predators that will hunt adults as well as eggs and chicks in the nest; these predators include snakes (such as boomslang and rock python), monkeys, baboons and birds of prey.

Conservation

Village weavers are thought to be one of the most widespread species of weaver bird in Africa, and are found in many protected reserves. Due to this there currently is no conservation programmes put in place for this particular species.

Did you know?

Empty nests of village weavers are known to be used by other birds and even snakes, wasps, mice and bats!

Male village weavers will destroy and rebuild their nests if they haven’t been able to attract a female; during the breeding season, a single male can build up to 20 different nests!

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We visited Marwell Zoo for the day with a large group of our sheltered housing residents from Portsmouth. It was a super day which all the residents enjoyed. There was something for everyone and a favourite animal for everyone! Residents felt there was so much to see, and lovely facilities on… Read full reviewRachael - Portsmouth Town Court Resident Group, 27th October 2017