Ploceus bicolor (Dark-backed weaver , Forest weaver) 

Bosmusikant [Afrikaans]; Ingilikingci [Xhosa]; iTilongo [Zulu]; Woudwever [Dutch]; Tisserin bicolore [French]; Waldweber [German]; Tecel„o-das-florestas [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 bicolor (Dark-backed weaver , Forest weaver) Ploceus bicolor (Dark-backed weaver , Forest weaver) 

Dark-backed weaver, Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa. [photo H. Robertson, Iziko ©]

Dark-backed weaver feeding on fruit, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. [photo Alan Manson ©]

For information about this species, see

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in patches from Cameroon and Somalia through southern DRC, Zambia, Angola and Tanzania to southern Africa. Here it is common from Mozambique and the extreme east of Zimbabwe to KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, generally favouring forest and dense riverine vegetation in coastal thickets.

Distribution of Dark-backed 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 raided by snakes.


It mainly eats arthropods supplemented with fruit, nectar and flowers, doing most of its foraging in the canopy, gleaning from leaves and branches. It often joins mixed-species foraging flocks, also hawking insects aerially and plucking prey from the ground.  The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is built by both sexes or just the male in about 7-9 days, starting by weaving a simple ring which is extended into a retort shape, with a long tunnel at a slight angle at the base. It is woven with stiff material such as thin vines, creepers, Asparagus leaves and Russet secamone (Secamone alpinii), while the interior is lined with softer material, especially old-man's-beard lichen (Usnea). It is typically attached to the tip of a branch or creeper, anywhere from 2-15 metres above ground.
  • Egg-laying season is from September-February, peaking from November-December.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for about 15-17 days (recorded in captivity).
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 22 days (also in captivity), after which they may only become independent up to 6 weeks later.


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. 



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