Ploceus ocularis (Spectacled
Brilwewer [Afrikaans]; Ikreza [Xhosa]; iGelegekle, iGeleja [Zulu];
Jesa (generic name for weaver) [Shona]; Sowa (generic term for weaver)
[Tsonga]; Thaga (generic term for weaver) [Tswana]; Brilwever [Dutch];
Tisserin à lunettes [French]; Brillenweber [German]; Tecelão-de-lunetas
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Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves
Order: Passeriformes > Family: Ploceidae
> Genus: Ploceus
Spectacled weaver male, South Africa. [photo
Spectacled weaver female, Waterberg, South Africa.
Distribution and habitat
Occurs from Ethiopia to Cameroon south through southern DRC,
Zambia, Angola and Tanzania to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in
Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and eastern and south-eastern South Africa, but
scarce in northern Botswana and Namibia. It generally prefers well-wooded
habitats with dense undergrowth, such as forest edges, woodland, vegetation
along rivers in thornveld, bushed valleys and gardens.
Distribution of Spectacled weaver in southern Africa,
based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas
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 has been recorded as host of the
It mainly eats insects supplemented with nectar and fruit,
doing most of its foraging in vegetation, gleaning prey from bark and leaves. It
also hawks termite alates aerially, and often joins mixed-species foraging
flocks along with other insectivorous and frugivorous birds. The following food items have been recorded
in its diet:
- Aloe marlothii (Mountain aloe)
- Aloe ferox (Bitter aloe)
- Tecoma capensis (Cape honeysuckle)
- Schotia brachypetala (Weeping boer-bean)
- Erythrina latissima (Broad-leaved coral-tree)
- Bread and bird seed at bird feeders
- Monogamous, territorial solitary nester, as pairs stay bonded over
multiple breeding seasons, possibly for life.
- The nest is built solely by the male or occasionally by both sexes in
about 2-3 weeks, consisting of a retort-shaped structure with an
exceptionally long vertical entrance tunnel, usually 10-20 but sometimes
60cm long! It is usually woven from thin strips of plant material, but it
may be built with only pine (Pinus) needles or horse hair. It is
typically attached to the tip of a branch or creeper, especially if
overlooking a stream, rarely using a patch of reeds or grass instead.
Spectacled weaver male in a ring, which is the
first stage of nest construction, at Kunene River Lodge, Namibia.
- Egg-laying season is from September-March, peaking from October-February.
- It lays 1-4 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for about 13-14
- The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 15-19
days and becoming fully independent about two weeks later.
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.