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Ploceus xanthopterus (Southern brown-throated weaver)

Bruinkeelwewer [Afrikaans]; Bruinkeelwever [Dutch]; Tisserin à gorge brune [French]; Braunkehlweber [German]; Tecelão-de-garganta-castanha [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 xanthopterus (Southern brown-throated weaver) Ploceus xanthopterus (Southern brown-throated weaver)
Southern brown-throated weaver male, Botswana. [photo Neil Gray ©] Southern brown-throated weaver female, Botswana. [photo Neil Gray ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from southern Tanzania and north-eastern Mozambique through Zambia and Angola to southern Africa. Here it is uncommon and localised in three separate areas: northern Botswana and the Caprivi Strip (Namibia), north-eastern Zimbabwe and central Mozambique and from southern Mozambique to KwaZulu-Natal. It generally prefers reedbeds and Papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) swamps while breeding, but in the non-breeding season it may also move into woodland, thickets, grassland and forest.

Distribution of Southern brown-throated 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.  


It mainly eats insects, seeds, berries and flowers, doing most of its foraging in vegetation, gleaning food from leaves and branches. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • seeds
      • Panicum maximum (Guinea grass)
    • berries
    • flowers
  • Insects
  • Human food
    • bread


  • Polygynous, as males mate with multiple females per breeding season, either nesting singly or in colonies of 10-300 nests.
  • The male may build up to about 12 nests in a breeding season, which consist of an untidy oval with an entrance hole on the bottom, woven from thin strips of reeds or grass and lined by the female with grass seedheads and reed flowers. It is typically attached to 1-3 reed stems at least one metre above water, rarely using a tree instead.
  • Egg-laying season is from about October-January.
  • It lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 14-17 days.
  • The chicks are fed by the female only, leaving the nest after about 14-19 days.


Not threatened, although it is very vulnerable to the destruction of wetlands.


  • 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.