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Ploceus intermedius (Lesser masked-weaver) 

Kleingeelvink [Afrikaans]; umZwingili [Zulu]; Kambara (generic term for weaver) [Kwangali]; Jesa (generic name for weaver) [Shona]; Ndzheyana (generic term for weaver or quelea) [Tsonga]; Thaga (generic term for weaver) [Tswana]; Kleine textorwever [Dutch]; Tisserin intermédiaire [French]; Cabanisweber [German]; Tecelão-pequeno-de-mascarilha [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Ploceidae > Genus: Ploceus

Ploceus intermedius (Lesser masked-weaver)  Ploceus intermedius (Lesser masked-weaver) 

Lesser masked-weaver male. [photo Tony Faria ©]

Lesser masked-weaver male, North-West Province, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Ethiopia through Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Angola to southern Africa. Here it is locally common across the northern half of the region, from northern Namibia to Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa, generally prefering habitats with or close to water, such as Acacia savanna, open woodland, riverine trees, reedbeds, swamps and mangroves.

Distribution of Lesser-masked weaver in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

It (at different stages of development) has been recorded as prey of the following animals:

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Diderick cuckoo.


It mainly eats insects (especially caterpillars) and nectar, doing most of its foraging in the tree canopy, gleaning prey from foliage and flowers. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Polygynous, as males mate with multiple females in a breeding season, living in colonies of 20-30, rarely up to 200 nests (see image on the bottom right)
  • The nest is built solely by the male, consisting of a sturdy but thin-walled kidney-shaped structure, with a downward-pointed entrance tunnel. It is usually made of narrow strips of grass, reeds or palm leaves and, if accepted by the female, she lines the interior with silky grey fibres. It is typically placed at the end of a branch, in the foliage of a tree or bush, in a patch of reeds, at the edge of a roof or suspended from a telephone wire.
Ploceus intermedius (Lesser masked-weaver)  Ploceus intermedius (Lesser masked-weaver) 

Lesser masked-weaver at its nest, Northern Cape, South Africa. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Lesser-masked weaver at its nest attached to a veranda, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Callie de Wet ©]

Ploceus intermedius (Lesser masked-weaver)  Ploceus intermedius (Lesser masked-weaver) 
Lesser masked-weaver, South Africa. [photo Gerhard Theron ©] Lesser masked-weaver, South Africa. [photo Peet van Schalkwyk ©, see also scienceanimations.com]
  • Egg-laying season is from August-March, peaking from October-January.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 13 days.
  • The chicks are mainly brooded and fed by the female, leaving the nest after about 15-16 days.


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.