Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-backed Sparrow-weaver (Plocepasser rufoscapulatus)


French: Mahali à dos roux German: Rotrückenweber Spanish: Tejedor gorrión dorsicastaño
Other common names: Chestnut-mantled Sparrow-weaver

Plocepasser rufoscapulatus


, 1888,

Kasinga River, south Angola




SW & C Angola, SE DRCongo, C & E Zambia, W Tanzania (near Mpanda)#R and WC Malawi.

Descriptive notes

18 cm; 39–49 g. Large sparrow-like weaver with heavy black and white head stripes and rufous back. Has forehead black, broad white central crownstripe surrounded by... read more


Song described as a loud jumble of different elements (this perhaps only territorial song). Contact... read more


Restricted to miombo (Brachystegia) woodland; below 1500 m.

Food and feeding

Seeds reported as stomach contents; species presumably also takes insects. Forages primarily on ground; also joins mixed-species flocks... read more


Breeds Sept–Oct in Angola, Sept–Nov in Zambia and Oct–Mar in DRCongo. No information on mating system; likely to be a co-... read more


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common. Found mainly in areas of sparse human population. Present in some protected areas.

Recommended citation

Craig, A. (2020). Chestnut-backed Sparrow-weaver (Plocepasser rufoscapulatus). 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 25 February 2020).