White-Headed Buffalo Weaver
Scientific Name: Dinemellia dinemelli
The white-headed buffalo weaver is member of a large family of weaver birds mostly found in Sub-Saharan Africa. Most of these build elaborate nests of woven grass and twigs.
These are gregarious, highly social birds. They feed, usually on the ground, in open grassy areas. They are often found in mixed species flocks that include other weaverbirds as well as some kinds of starlings. They often are seen in areas used by African buffalo, feeding on the insects stirred up or seeds knocked loose by the buffalo, hence the name “buffalo weaver”.
STATUS: The white-headed buffalo weaver is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
HABITAT: East Africa; the dry savanna, open thorn scrub and acacia woodlands of Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and Tanzania.
DIET: Seeds of grasses and shrubs, some insects and small fruit.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Adult bodies are about eight inches long and weigh two to three ounces. They are strikingly colored, with a white head and breast, black back, and a yellow-orange rump. Both sexes have similar coloration, so it is difficult to identify them by appearance. The Tanzanian race has a black tail; the north Kenyan race, a brown one. These birds have a heavy black beak, typical of seed eating birds.
Home Sweet Home
White-headed buffalo weavers nest in large colonies, with a single tree having many nests. The rather untidy (by weaverbird standards) nests are built in the fork of a branch away from the trunk to foil predators. Both the male and the female work to build the nest. The nest is made from twigs and grasses and is lined with feathers and finer grasses to provide warmth and comfort for the nestlings. In captivity, the birds have shown a preference for using thorny stems on the top of the nest structure, perhaps as an additional predator defense. Clutch size is three to five greenish-white eggs, often with some dark spots. Incubation time is 14 days and the young fledge three weeks after hatching.