Fun Cape Weaver Facts For Kids

Georgia Stone
Aug 29, 2023 By Georgia Stone
Originally Published on Oct 05, 2021
Cape weaver facts are fascinating to all bird lovers irrespective of their age.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.7 Min

The Cape weaver (Ploceus capensis) is a species native to South Africa. Mathurin Jacques Brisson, a French zoologist living in the 18th century had made mention of these birds based on the collected specimens from the Cape of Good Hope.

These birds were then named by the French observer as 'Le Carouge du Cap de Bonne Espérance', which was later altered. Although there are speculations that this species evolved in South Africa from passerine families, the study is inconclusive.

Abundant in South Africa, this bird is known for its impeccable nest-building qualities and living in close-knit colonies. Males go through an elaborate ritual to invite females to their nest and assure them of their capabilities as a provider and a protector.

This species of the western Cape escapes the risk of being endangered with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species listing it as a species of Least Concern.

Read on to learn more about the species. To read about other birds, check out our village weaver facts and Taveta golden weaver facts.

Cape Weaver Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Cape weaver?

The Cape weaver is a small, yellowish, active, and loud bird known for its innate expertise in nest weaving. Interestingly, Cape weavers are born pros in nest weaving and are extremely cautious about their territory.

What class of animal does a Cape weaver belong to?

It belongs to the class Aves. The scientific name for a Cape weaver is Ploceus capensis, 'capensis' stemming from the Latin meaning after the Cape of Good Hope.

How many cape weavers are there in the world?

The Cape weaver (Ploceus capensis) is endemic to South Africa and is abundantly found in the country and its Cape of Good Hope region. However, their population is not quantified.

Where does a Cape weaver live?

Cape weavers are endemic to South Africa. They are abundantly found in the South African Lesotho lowlands, West Swaziland, and off of the South West coast. The Cape weaver cautiously avoids the dry interior and subtropical lowlands of the country.

What is a Cape weaver's habitat?

Cape weavers tend to dwell around permanent water bodies and scattered trees, for instance, lowland fynbos, farmlands, grasslands, and coastal thickets. In hotter, arid regions, the Cape weaver is careful with its movement to the upland areas to avoid extreme dryness.

They are never found in forests, and instead, these birds engage in dwelling in communal nests. The male Cape weaver is responsible for building a solid, kidney-shaped, and waterproof nest with shreds of reeds, trees, and grass that it can gather.

When a breeding female accepts the nest built by the male, she moves into the nest to line the interior with feathers and other soft materials for a comfortable habitat. They do not migrate.

Who do Cape weavers live with?

Cape weavers living in the open grasslands prefer to form colonies in order to breed and move around in flocks. In a weaver family, the breeding male is accompanied by the female who lays around two to five eggs and stays around until the chicks hatch and then nurtures them until they are capable of supporting themselves.

How long does a Cape weaver live?

Cape weavers are among the top of the South African weavers, with regards to having a relatively long lifespan. They are estimated to live around 14-15 years.

How do they reproduce?

Characteristically, this bird species is polygynous. 'A breeding male Cape weaver can mate with up to seven breeding female birds in a single breeding season.

The breeding season extends from the rainy to the winter months, approximately from June to November. Female birds lay two to five eggs in a clutch within the months of June to February. Females are responsible for incubation and take great care until the eggs hatch.

What is their conservation status?

 The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has declared the Cape weaver to be a non-threatened species and its conservation status to be of Least Concern. They have a stable population and are quite widespread in their habitat range.

Cape Weaver Fun Facts

What does a Cape weaver look like?

The Cape weaver is a relatively tall bird with a long bill and wheatish eyes. There is a significant difference between the male and female weaver.

The female has an olive-tinted appearance while males show aberrations in the breast. The female bird has a pale yellow belly and olive-yellow around the breast and head.

The female has an olive head and back with streaks of brown. Females also have dark brown eyes and an ashy-looking bill. The male bird, on the other hand, has a bright yellow belly stretching towards its face.

Male weavers have a characteristic orange face that spreads towards their breast and head with added hints of olive. Similar to the female, the male has an olive back, creamy white eyes, and dark brown bill.

Cape weaver males are few among colonies and tend to build multiple nests.

How cute are they?

The Cape weaver, like any other member of the bird family, is a fluffy little thing that is adorable to have roaming around. The male Cape weaver looks rather grumpy owing to its orange face and stern gaze. While the female, on the other hand, shows signs of tenderness and benevolence with its olive-yellow belly and tiny olive-brown head.

How do they communicate?

The Cape weaver is comparatively a loud, vocal bird that produces sharp wheezing calls without a clear termination. Females tend to give out a squeaky call while males give a short cry. Irrespective of their sexes, the Cape weaver produces a harsh, alarming call when facing danger.

How big is a Cape weaver?

The Cape weaver is categorized to be one of the larger yellow weavers. Its length is estimated at around 7.1 in (18 cm), almost twice as tall as the hummingbird.

How fast can a Cape weaver fly?

There are no concrete reports regarding their speed, although it is likely to be around the average speed of all the weaver varieties.

How much does a Cape weaver weigh?

The average Cape weaver male weighs around 1.55-1.83 oz (44-52 g) while the female weighs around 1.26-1.58 oz (36-45 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Generally speaking, male and female birds of this family, genus, and order are referred to as cock and hen, respectively. Therefore, males and females of this species are referred to as the same.

What would you call a baby Cape weaver?

Baby Cape weavers are generally called chicks.

What do they eat?

This weaver species is omnivorous and feeds primarily on insects like spiders, caterpillars, bees, beetles, ants, termites, and other such bugs. Their vegetarian diet includes seeds, fruit, and nectar from plants. Seeds like maize, barley, wheat; fruits like olive, native figs, grapes, apricots; nectar from Agave, Aloe, Erythrina, and others contribute equally to their diet along with insects.

Are they dangerous?

This bird species is mostly harmless and has established a harmonious bond with human beings.

Would they make a good pet?

These South African birds are on good terms with human beings and may make good pets. Although it is best to leave them to their natural habitat of nests and trees, rather than cages.

Did you know...

The breeding female bird only accepts the male's invitation when they are assured of the safety of the nest and can build some sort of reliance for their habitat.

The male loses their orange face and throat which becomes yellow outside of breeding season. The body also loses its vibrancy, becoming pale yellow during this time.

Chicks only take around 17 days to leave the nest and flee on their own.

Breeding male weavers keep their territory in check by constant vigilance and patrolling.

Cape weavers are so abundant near the Western Cape that they are often considered pests and exterminated in mass numbers.

Female birds cater to the needs of the chicks for the first few days after they hatch, but the male Cape weaver (Ploceus capensis) soon takes the authority for their food and overall diet.

Why do weaver birds destroy their nests?

Male weavers destroy their nests if no female bird accepts it within seven days of its making.

Do female weavers build nests?

Female weavers do not engage in building nests, however, they actively participate in lining the interior of the nest with soft, cushiony material for laying eggs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds with our Cuban parakeet facts and elegant crested tinamou facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bird wearing clothes coloring pages.


*The second image was taken by Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Cape Weaver Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Spiders, bees, ants, termites

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

2-5 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

Males: 1.55-1.83 oz (44-52 g) Females: 1.26-1.58 oz (36-45 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

Grasslands, fynbos, farmlands, coastal thickets

Where Do They Live?

south africa

How Long Were They?

7.1 in (18cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Ploceus capensis

What Do They Look Like?

Yellow, orange, green, black

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

snakes, rats, the diederik cuckoo, harrier hawks

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Georgia Stone

Bachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia Stone picture

Georgia StoneBachelor of Arts specializing in French with Film Studies, Bachelor of Arts (Year Abroad) specializing in Literature, History, Language, Media, and Art

Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.

Read full bio >