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Weaver Finches

Species Of Weaver Finches, Conflicts With Humans

Weaver finches are a relatively large family of 156 species of perching birds, comprising the family Ploceidae. Weaver finches are native to Africa, Madagascar, Eurasia, and Malaysia. This group is richest in species in Africa. However, some species have been widely introduced outside of their natural range.

Species of weaver finches occur in a wide range of terrestrial habitats, including semi-deserts, grasslands, savannas, and various types of forests. Weaver finches do not migrate, although during times of drought and food shortage, they may undertake wanderings covering hundreds of kilometers.

Weaver finches are relatively small birds, most with a body length of 3.9-9.8 in (10-25 cm)—not including the very long tail of some African species. Weaver finches are rather stout-bodied, and they have a short, pointed, conical, seed-eating bill. The coloration and patterns of their plumage are highly variable among species, and are quite attractive in some cases.

Weaver finches mostly eat seeds, but they also eat other small fruits, succulent foliage, and insects.

Most species of weaver finches are gregarious, occurring in flocks during the nonbreeding season, and often nesting in colonial groups. Their calls are harsh and repeated chirps, buzzes, and chattering, and not very musical.

Nesting and breeding systems are extremely variable among the weaver finches. Nesting strategies range from large, woven colonial nests to individually woven nests. Some species are polygynous, in which a male breeds with as many females as possible, and helps little with the incubation of eggs or care of the young birds. One species, the cuckoo weaver (Anomalospiza imberbis), is a parasitic breeder, laying its eggs in the nests of other A yellow and black village weaver. Photograph by Nigel Dennis. The National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.
species, which then raise the parasitic baby. In most species, however, a one-family domed nest is constructed, the clutch size is two to eight, the female or both sexes incubate the eggs, and both parents care for the young.

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