FOX’S WEAVER (PLOCEUS SPEKEOIDES)
Africa is very famous for a high diversity of Weavers. These birds occupy all habitats around the continent with some members being extremely restricted to particular micro-habitats. The yellow and black species tend to prefer moist habitats.
Fox’s Weaver is one of those that prefer moist habitats and is the only true endemic to Uganda, a country often referred to as Africa’s birding Capital. By description, it is a medium-sized weaver species with the male being more colourful than the female. This is quite typical in weavers as it is with many species, especially those where the female does most of the incubating. During incubation, the males will frequently patch nearby in a guarding manner and will warn females in case of danger. Plumage, along with other factors, is very important during the display to attract females for mating.
Fox,s Weaver description
The species is a medium-sized weaver of about 14 – 15 centimemters/6 inches with a very thick bill and short tail compared to similar Weavers like Speke’s Weaver (Ploceus spekei) and Heuglin’s Masked Weaver (Ploceus heuglini). The male has a dark facial mask that washes into brown down the throat, crown and nape golden-yellow, dark back to the upper back, outer feathers with narrow yellow fringes, rump yellow, tail light brown to black and a significantly shorter tail. The underparts are all yellow. The female has lighter yellow underparts and yellow-green upperparts with a short tail too.
Typical Weaver screeching notes
Seasonal Wetlands with Savanah and Whistling Acacia (Acacia drepanolobium)
Food and Feeding
Many of the weavers are seed-eaters, this species has a well-developed bill to feed on seeds, but for our observation time, we have seen them feeding on Acacia ants that occur in the Whistling acacia.
April to September is the peak, but a few individuals breed in November. Males construct nests and display to attract females. Unlike some other weaver species, we believe this species is monogamous, and the male stays to watch the female through the breeding season. The male display will continue even during incubation to the particular female. They are colonial. Nest described as oval, roughly woven with no entrance tunnel.
Thy are breeding residents but will wonder a lot within their range during the dry season.
Locally this bird was nearly declared extinct despite non-photographic reports from the regional birders, and these included Crammy Wanyama and Ibrahim Ssenfuma’s report of a flock of over 200 individuals around the pian Upe game reserve areas. Pian Upe not until August 9, 2019, was not accepted to be a range for this species.
Crammy Wanyama discovered the current Fox’s Weaver breeding teritories at Pakwi and Magoro areas following a single photo captured unknowingly by Ben Ntale a very adventurous Ugandan naturalist. Thank you, Ben!
On August 9, 2019, while leading the Eastern to North Eastern Uganda tour, he discovered more territories along the Sironko to Nakapiripiti road with high concentration at Pian Upe Game Reserve where he had first sighted a flock of over 200 individual for years ago. On the given date while doing a birding game drive, he counted 46 nests and saw 37 individuals which included male and female and one young male.