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 Species information page -  Southern Masked Weaver


  Species Home > Sparrows, weavers & allies > Southern Masked Weaver (814)

A common yellowish weaver in which the male has a black facemask. Size 11-14.5 cm About the same size as a Cape Sparrow.  Afrikaans: Swartkeelgeelvink

The bill is short, strong and conical. It is black in breeding males and pale pinkish-brown in non-breeding birds. The eye of the breeding male is red. The legs and feet are pinkish brown.

The male Southern Masked Weaver in breeding plumage has a black facemask, which extends onto the throat and covers just the forehead and the sides of the face. The underparts and rest of the head are bright yellow, and the back is plain yellowish-green.

The female has a brown or red-brown eye (may be red in some breeding birds) and is dull greenish-yellow, streaked darker on the upper back. The throat is yellowish, fading to dirty white on the belly.

This is a very widespread species, found in nearly all habitats, from bushveld, woodland, through to semi-desert areas.

It is common in gardens, parks and around farmsteads. It is usually seen singly or in small groups. It may also form larger flocks, and is often seen in mixed bird parties, and flocking together with other seedeaters.

They eat insects, seeds, parts of flowers; nectar. Will readily visit feeding trays for bread.

The call is a harsh swizzling. It also utters a sharp chuk alarm note.

It nests mainly from September to January. Males are polygynous (have more than one partner) and usually nest alone, building a succession of nests (about 25 nests each season), although several males may nest alongside in one colony. Nests are usually situated in trees, and often around homesteads, or over water. The nests are typical weaver nests - made of tightly woven strips of reed, palm or grass. The nests have a neat finish, and once selected by the female she will add a lining of soft grass and feathers.

Species Picture
Distribution Map Sometimes confused with:

Lesser Masked Weaver
Spotted-backed Weaver
Internet Resources:
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Book Resources:
Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 3rd Ed p398
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