In Africa, in the territory south of the Sahara and up to the equator, small, but very bright birds, like flames, live near small bodies of water. These are West African fire velvet weavers (lat. Euplectes franciscanus), whose males look truly impressive.
The red and black mating outfit of these 15 cm passerines is striking. They have a bright crest on their heads, the chest and underside of the wings are black, and the back, tail and tops of the wings are red. But the females of velvet weavers are inconspicuous - they have gray-brown striped plumage. The thorax and abdomen are yellowish-whitish with darkish stripes.
The beak of both sexes is wide, conical in shape. The build is dense, the wings are rounded and short. The rounded head rests proudly on a short neck. The legs are small but strong enough to hold onto tree branches.
West African fire weavers live in small colonies. Males are engaged in the construction of nests. Moreover, one gentleman can build several houses at once for future chicks in the hope of creating his own mini-harem. Their nests are neat, completely closed, with one side entrance. It is for the ability to skillfully weave them that these birds began to be called weavers.
It is curious that when kept in captivity, when the couple have quite comfortable housing, the head of the family still develops a vigorous construction activity: he begins to wrap grass around the cage.By the way, this has a calming effect on the female, which rushes more actively under such conditions.
One clutch usually contains two to four blue eggs. Incubation lasts a little less than two weeks, and only the female warms future children. Chicks hatch completely naked and stay in the nest for 12 to 20 days.
Adults feed them with insect larvae and ant eggs, less often they bring plant food. When the kids get up on the wing and leave the cozy parental house, they keep close to mom and dad for some time, who continue to feed their fledgling toddlers.
Since chicks of velvet weavers quickly become independent, they may have two clutches per season. After the mating season, the birds begin to shed, changing their colorful outfit to a more modest winter version. In the cold season, married couples break up and it is not a fact that next year they will converge again. For the winter, West African weavers gather in huge flocks, because it is so much more fun to endure this dull period.
Weavers are sedentary birds that can only wander for short distances. And why should they fly far, if in Africa and Martinique, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico or other islands of the Caribbean Sea, where they were brought not so long ago, there is something to feast on all year round. And fire weavers feed on seeds and berries, as well as various bugs and flies.
These small birds, just like our sparrows, move on the ground by leaps and love to "swim" in the sand or dust.They settle in green meadows, not far from sources of cool water, of which there are not so many in Africa. The species is quite numerous, so that it is not threatened with extinction.
Euplectes diadematus Fischer & Reichenow, 1878
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The Fire-fronted Bishop (Euplectes diadematus) is a species of bird in the Ploceidae family. It is found in Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania. Source: Wikipedia
Fischer & Reichenow, 1878
Taxonomic Serial Number:
- Euplectes diadematus: SW Somalia to e Kenya and extreme ne Tanzania