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Ploceus xanthops (Golden weaver)

Goudwewer [Afrikaans]; iHlokohloko (generic term for weaver) [Zulu]; Kambara (generic term for weaver) [Kwangali]; Jesa (generic name for weaver) [Shona]; Sowa (generic term for weaver) [Tsonga]; Thaga (generic term for weaver) [Tswana]; Saffraanwever [Dutch]; Tisserin safran [French]; Großer goldweber, Safranweber [German]; Tecelão-dourado [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 xanthops (Golden weaver)

Golden weaver, collecting nest material, Kunene River Lodge, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Ploceus xanthops (Golden weaver) Ploceus xanthops (Golden weaver)

Golden weaver., Botswana. [photo Mike Grimes ©]

Golden weaver, Tanzania. [photo Martin Goodey ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Congo and Uganda through southern DRC, Zambia and Angola to southern Africa. Here it is common from central Mozambique to Zimbabwe, northern Botswana, the far north of Namibia (including the Caprivi Strip) and eastern South Africa. It generally prefers grassy thicket along forest edges, well-wooded savanna, riparian woodland and rank vegetation along watercourses.

Distribution of Golden 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

Nests are sometimes torn apart by African fish-eagles, who then eat the chicks or eggs contained within.

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Diderick cuckoo.


It eats a variety of fruit, insects, seeds and nectar, doing most of its foraging in dense vegetation. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • Usually monogamous but occasionally polygynous, as males may breed singly or in loose colonies of 2-3 males.
  • The male builds 1-5 nests (see image below), consisting of an untidy, bulky kidney-shaped structure made of woven coarse grass, which is lined by the female with grass inflorescences and plant down. It is typically attached to a drooping branch or suspended between to reeds or grass stems.
Ploceus xanthops (Golden weaver)  

Golden weaver at its nest, Hazyview, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from August-April, peaking from October-February.
  • It lays 1-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 14-15 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents but mainly the female, leaving the nest after about 19-21 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.