Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Black-billed Weaver (Ploceus melanogaster)


French: Tisserin à tête jaune German: Schwarzbauchweber Spanish: Tejedor piquinegro

Ploceus melanogaster


, 1887,

Mount Cameroon, 8000 feet [c. 2440 m], Cameroon


Races differ clearly in plumage. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. m. melanogaster Shelley, 1887 – Western Black-billed Weaver – SE Nigeria, SW Cameroon and Bioko.
  • P. m. stephanophorus (Sharpe, 1891) – Eastern Black-billed Weaver – S highlands of South Sudan (Imatong, Dongotoma, Didinga, Acholi); E DRCongo and adjacent W Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi; and E Uganda and adjoining areas of WC Kenya.
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 20–28 g. Male nominate race has most of head golden-yellow, cheek and ear-coverts washed with orange-brown, sometimes extending to chin and throat, lores black... read more


    Song of clear ringing notes followed by drawn-out snoring sound, "da du da du dzirr", described as... read more


    Montane forest, from 550 m to 2450 m (mainly 1000–2200 m) in Cameroon and at 1500–3000... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet primarily insects, including ants (Formicidae), alate termites (Isoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), cicadas (Cicadidae); stomach contents... read more


    Breeds in Dec in Nigeria, Oct–Jan (mainly Dec) in Cameroon, Jan on Bioko I, Nov–Mar and Aug in Sudan, Dec–Jan, Oct–... read more


    Presumed resident; seasonal altitudinal movements possible on some mountains.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Reasonably common in Cameroon Highlands; fairly common to uncommon elsewhere, but reportedly shy and difficult to observe. Old records of race ... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. (2020). Black-billed Weaver (Ploceus melanogaster). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 February 2020).