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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are no concrete reports regarding their speed, although it is likely to be around the average speed of all the weaver varieties.
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).
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.
Baby Cape weavers are generally called chicks.
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.
This bird species is mostly harmless and has established a harmonious bond with human beings.
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.
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.
Male weavers destroy their nests if no female bird accepts it within seven days of its making.
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.
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