The Golden Palm Weaver

26th June 2010

Distribution: This African species is distributed over 16,000 km. It is found in the extreme south of Somalia, the south east of Ethiopia, Kenya, and possibly the north east of Tanzania.

Status: The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as 'frequent' in at least parts of its range. Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Habitat: The Golden Palm Weaver is common along the coastal strip of Eastern Africa. Away from the coast its preferred habitat is riverine woodlands in dry country areas.

General habits: This is a gregarious and noisy bird which nests in colonies, sometimes alongside African Golden Weavers.

Feeding habits: The Golden Palm Weaver feeds mainly on seeds, and the occasional grubs.

Breeding habits: This species, like most weavers, nests in colonies, sometimes this can be alongside African Golden Weavers.

Nest: As it is the case for most weaver species, it is the male Golden Palm Weaver that weaves the nest. This elaborate structure is made of fine leaf-fibers, grass or twigs. The male then uses the finished nest to display and attract females.

Description: The Golden Palm Weaver has a beautiful golden colour from head to chest and underparts. The wings and back are slightly darker and duller. The bill and eye are dark. Legs are pink. When in his breeding plumage, the face and throat of the male turn orange.

It is difficult to confuse the Golden Palm Weaver in the field with any other weaver, although the sub-adult plumage is very similar to that of the Taveta Golden Weaver. However the 2 species do not overlap in range. The immature male looks very similar to the female but the latter is a uniform yellow below while the immature male is much paler below and may show some streaking. However both have bi-colour bills. These are seed-eating birds have rounded conical bills.

Did you know: In Somalia, the Golden Palm Weaver is seen as one of the principal pest birds, because of the damage it causes to cereal crops, mainly maize.

Weaver birds, also known as weaver finches get their name because of their elaborately woven nests (the most elaborate of any birds) which vary in size, shape, material used and construction techniques from species to species.

The Golden Palm Weaver is also called: Mnana-minazi [Swahili]; Tisserin palmiste [French]; Palmenweber [German]; Guldgul palmvävare [Swedish]; Tessitore delle palme [Italian]; Kookoskutoja [Finnish].

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