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The Buffalo Weaver – Part 2 of Africa’s Little 5

By April 16, 2015No Comments
A White-headed Buffalo weaver.
The Buffalo Weaver

There are two types of Buffalo weavers, the Black Buffalo Weaver which is black with white in their wings and are the more commonly found out of the two. The other is the White-headed Buffalo Weaver is brown and white, with a red. They often follow herds of buffaloes and this is where the name Buffalo Weaver comes from.

Buffalo Weavers are bulky birds and are the biggest out of all the weavers measuring up to 24 cm in size.

Habitat
A red-billed Buffalo Weaver.

Found in dry areas such as dry bushy and thorny savannah’s, they build communal nests about 2 – 4 metres above the ground in the trees above. They are messy nest builders, with both sexes taking a part in the building of the nest. Their nests are made out of sticks and thorns with several entrances. These nests can be enormous!

There are often more than just one nest in a tree and each nest can have different compartments which can house 2 or more pairs of Buffalo Weavers.

Buffalo Weaver nest.
Behaviour

Buffalo Weavers are loud and noisy birds with a range of calls and sounds which they make. Being territorial they often get aggressive when intruders of other birds enter their area, they will then display their unhappiness vocally. These birds can hang upside down much like parrots can.

Diet

They enjoy munching on grass seeds, small insects and small fruits. These birds often feed off the ground in noisy flocks among herds of buffaloes. Buffalo Weavers use their strong bills to crack open hard seeds to enjoy.

Reproduction

The female Buffalo Weaver lays 3 or 4 eggs which are pale blue in colour with brown and olive markings. The little ones develop within the eggs for up to between 11 to 14 days. Once the chicks hatch they are fed a diet of insects and small seeds mostly by the female but sometimes by both parents. After about 3 weeks, they leave the nest to live out their own lives in the plains of Africa.

White-headed Buffalo Weavers hanging out.