Lifestyle and Lifespan
Males are a bright yellow with a greenish-yellow back, greenish wings and tail, and chestnut patches on the nape and chest. Females are a duller yellowish-olive with dusky streaks along the back, a yellowish strip above the eye, and a pale buffy-yellow underside.
As seed eaters, these birds have especially short and thick bills that are perfect for cracking the outer hulls open.
Open woodland, forests, swamps, and riparian areas. They generally nest in marshes and swamps and rely on drier adjacent habitat during non-breeding season.
Taveta Golden Weavers have a restricted range within southeastern Kenya and northeastern Tanzania but are common within their range. Populations can be quite localized but large numbers of individuals are present at sites where they occur.
These birds are primarily seed-eaters, but will also feed on grasses and insects.
Omnivore. Their diet is heavy in seeds but they do hunt live prey (mostly insects), especially when feeding their nestlings.
Colonial living is a fantastic adaptation for predator avoidance. With many sets of eyes always keeping watch, the first bird to spot a predator can alert the others so that as many individuals as possible escape and survive.
Taveta Golden Weavers live in large colonies and are assumed to be polygynous.
Breeding occurs September through May. Males use their strong claws and bill to weave elaborate nests from long strands of grass. These nests are carefully constructed and tightly woven. Females will choose a male to mate with based on the nest he has built, and will line the inside of the nest with grass or other soft material before laying 2-3 olive green eggs.
2-3 nestlings are fed insects and other live food by their mother before fledging at approximately 14 days.
Currently listed as Least Concern by IUCN.
Although weavers are considered songbirds, the Taveta Golden Weaver’s song is not pleasing to human ears and is often described as “harsh” and “tuneless”.
It is not uncommon to multiple mated pairs to build a single large, elaborate nest with many apartment-like chambers.
There currently three recognized subfamilies of weaverbirds. Taveta Golden Weavers are considered part of the “true” weaver subfamily based on their behavior of weaving nests from thin strips of plant material.
Williams, J.G.; Arlott, N. The Collins Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa. The Stephen Greene Press, 1980.
De Silva, Thilina & Peterson, Andrew & Fernando, Sumudu & Bates, John & D Marks, Ben & G. Girard, Matthew. (2016). Phylogenetic relationships of weaverbirds (Aves: Ploceidae): A first robust phylogeny based on mitochondrial and nuclear markers. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution. 109. . 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.12.013.