Andrea Pompele took this series of photos of a male village weaver bird building a nest at Mdonya Old River camp in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania.
The village weaver (Ploceus cucullatus), also known as the spotted-backed weaver or black-headed weaver (the latter leading to easy confusion with P. melanocephalus), is a species of bird found in much of sub-Saharan Africa. It has also been introduced to Hispaniola, Mauritius and Réunion.
This often abundant species occurs in a wide range of open or semi-open habitats, including woodlands and human habitation, and frequently forms large noisy colonies in towns, villages and hotel grounds.
This weaver builds a large coarsely woven nest made of grass and leaf strips with a downward facing entrance which is suspended from a branch in a tree. 2-3 eggs are laid. This is a colonial breeder, so many nests may hang from one tree.
The village weaver is a stocky 15–17 cm bird with a strong conical bill and dark reddish eyes. In the northern part of its range, the breeding male has a black head edged by chestnut (typically most distinct on the nape and chest). Towards the southern part of its range, the amount of black and chestnut diminish, and the breeding males of the southernmost subspecies only have a black face and throat, while the nape and crown are yellow. In all subspecies the breeding male has a black bill, black and yellow upperparts and wings, and yellow underparts.
The non-breeding male has a yellow head with an olive crown, grey upperparts and whitish underparts. The wings remain yellow and black.
The adult female has streaked olive upperparts, yellow and black wings, and pale yellow underparts. Young birds are like the female but browner on the back.
Village weaver feeds principally on seeds and grain, and can be a crop pest, but it will readily take insects, especially when feeding young, which partially redresses the damage to agriculture.
The calls of this bird include harsh buzzes and chattering.
Some of our Tanzanian friends made the following comments when we posted this series of photos on Facebook:
Harith Abdi It's beautiful but very dangerous if they stay around you padi (rice field/farm)
Sometimes we call it Village weaver or the Swahili name is Chekechea and I used to study her Poet in primary...nice one!
Musa Mwanshuli in my home village Ubaruku the bird has a much more beautiful name it's called sweswee ha ha ha and if you have paddy farm you better be careful because this bird will build its nest near your farm to make a big family.
Imani Kitimla All Weavers have peculiar behaviour, the way they build or make their nests, they make a small vertical entrance in order to confuse the intruders(predators)
Jonas Kusaga I love all weavers for how they are weaving their nests.
Arthur Shoo Very beautiful. Let us care for and protect these creatures for the generations to come
Iddi Msangi Really nice living creature called weaver birds and called so because of weaving their nests, I like it
Rukia Parvez Shabbirdin Verrrrry prettyyyy and veryyy busyyyy hahahaaa weaving nature is beautifulllllll 😊love ittttttt ❤❤
Shalali Bernard amazing black headed Weaver are noise makers.
Lu Kim Black headed weaver or spotted backed weaver and also village weaver you may call this bird
Patrick Sanga The mystery displayed by the males of many species (of weavers) in weaving intricate nests, using only the bill or beak as a tool, is the origin of the common or scientific name!
Yona Herman In order to attract females it must be able to make a good nest (display)
Filbert Telesfory Ngalo A STORY BY PADRI TOMASI GATI OF NGORONGORO IS AMAZING. ONE MALE CONTROLLING ONE TREE OF FEMALES. AND IT MANAGED TO BUI LD ALL THE NESTS.