Male Golden-backed Weaver building a nest

posted in: Exotics, Nesting | 3

“During a pleasant morning walk 19th May 2013 at Lorong Halus with Simon Day and his two sons, who are doing a Big Year in 2013, we came across an unfamiliar species building a nest.

“We saw a ‘funny’ black-headed weaver collecting grass near the ‘Little Grebe”-lake, obviously some African escapee. It flew into some branches overhanging the lake, and Mark took a few snapshots with his compact. There was a bird photographer staking out the nest. He said the bird was alone, he had not seen the female.

“Consulting Handbook of the Birds of the World Vol 15 and Birds of Africa south of the Sahara by Sinclair & Ryan (2003) after we got back, the bird appears to be a Golden-backed Weaver (Ploceus jacksoni) from East Africa, a male in full breeding plumage. According to The Avifauna of Singapore (2009) this escapee has not been recorded in Singapore previously. I saw it and photographed it back in 2002 at Rusinga Island in Kenya, this one location alone has 12 Ploceus weaver species on the checklist! How the bird got to Singapore is anyone’s guess, and it seems to be still looking for a mate…”

Morten Strange & Ng Bee Choo
Photo: Mark Wen Strange
19th May 2013

Note: The Golden-backed Weaver was first reported in Singapore in June 2011 LINK when both sexes were seen. Another post reported seeing it again in Lorong Halus in October 2012 LINK and later in Pasir Ris LINK. The latest report was in February 2013 LINK. This is the first report of a male building a nest.


3 Responses

  1. wonder if it can hydridise with our local Baya weaver?

  2. Lee Chiu San

    The golden-backed weaver is popular in aviculture, and is available from local bird shops. Like most African weavers, it has an eclipse phase, during which all the bright feathers are shed. During this time, the bird looks quite drab. Some bored bird keeper might have released his pet when it lost colour.

    The building of nests by weavers does not always signify breeding activity. It is a form of territorial display. Males construct nests in the hope of impressing passing females, just as playboys show off the title deeds of multiple properties.

    By the way, as the authorities proceed to ban bird imports from more and more Asian sources due to the presence of bird flu, dealers are increasingly turning to Africa, where imports are still permitted from many countries.

    I too have seen escaped African exotics in my neighbourhood.

  3. […] originating from east Africa – but I might of course be totally wrong. If correct though, previous BES reports between 2012 and 2014 seem to indicate sightings of this species at Lorong Halus, but in small […]


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