Bird’s-eye view – Namibia’s weaver bird

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Spectacled  Weaver

Ploceus ocularis

Roberts No 810

by Pompie Burger

For various reasons the spectacled weaver bird is probably my favourite of all the weavers found in Namibia.

Primarily because once when we had the good fortune to visit a lodge in the Caprivi region one of the guests, a very yuppie-like lady, came back from a game drive going on about the beautiful little ‘testicled’ weaver they had seen.

Whether it was the anatomy of the poor little bird or its ability to attract female weavers or just a Freudian slip I wouldn’t know, but since then the Spectacled Weaver has never been the same to me.

Distribution map

Male and female Spectacled Weavers look alike except that the male has a black bib.

Contrary to most of the other weavers, the females help build the neat, finely woven nests with their longish tunnel-like entrances.

The male and female are sedentary and resident, often staying together for several seasons.

The breeding takes place singly and not in colonies like some of the other weavers.

Although they can be quite vocal, these birds are rather shy and are not seen that often except during the breeding season when they fly to and from the nest while building and feeding their offspring.

Spectacled Weavers often use the same site for nesting in successive years. Their distribution is limited to riverine forest in the north-eastern part of Namibia.

They have no markings on their wings and, compared to those of their co-weavers, their bill is sharp and pointed. They forage singly or in pairs and feed on insects and fruit.

Watching a pair of Spectacled Weavers building their nest is as fascinating as you can hope for. Like many of the weaver family, these birds are no exception, weaving and titivating around the nest until it is perfect.

This article appeared in the June/July ‘08 edition of Travel News Namibia.

About the author:
Based in Windhoek, Pompie Burger is an orthopaedic surgeon whose part-time passion is photography, in particular wildlife, and specifically birds. This regularly takes him to the most remote corners of the country, resulting in riveting images and articles. 
Pompie is the author and photographer of the coffee table book Birds of Namibia, which was published in 2008. The book contains articles and photographs which attest to the insight and knowledge of an accomplished observer.
Read more of his articles in our Birding Section.

 

Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. With riveting stories, first-hand encounters and magnificent photographs showcasing tourism, travel, nature, adventure and conservation, TNN is the ultimate and most comprehensive guide to exploring Namibia. Travel News Namibia is published in five different editions per year. These include four English- language editions and one German. Travel News Namibia is for sale in Namibia and South Africa.

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