Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut Weaver (Ploceus rubiginosus)


French: Tisserin roux German: Maronenweber Spanish: Tejedor castaño

Ploceus rubiginosus


, 1840,



Strikingly disjunct form trothae moderately distinct, differing in its paler, more orange-toned vs deeper chestnut nape, back, neck sides, breast and belly (1); broad pale grey vs grey-flecked chestnut rump (2); seemingly always white vs usually deep chestnut (but sometimes white) undertail-coverts (ns); on published evidence#R both sexes (means for males) with fractionally longer bill (20.9 mm vs 20.4) and wing (83.7 vs 82.5) but somewhat shorter tail (52.4 vs 56.1; for latter allow 1). Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. r. rubiginosus Rüppell, 1840 – Northern Chestnut Weaver – W Eritrea, N, S & E Ethiopia, NW & S Somalia, SE South Sudan, NE Uganda, Kenya (except coast and highlands) and interior plateau of Tanzania.
  • P. r. trothae Reichenow, 1905 – Southern Chestnut Weaver – SW Angola, N & C Namibia and, rare, NW Botswana.
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; male 28–37 g, female 25–31 g. Male nominate race breeding has forehead, crown, lores, cheek and ear-coverts black, sharply divided from chestnut-brown of... read more


    Song a loud sizzling, reminiscent of Quelea species assembled at colony. High-pitched "... read more


    Dry thornveld, generally below 1500 m.

    Food and feeding

    Diet seeds, primarily of grasses, and insects, including termites (Isoptera); also nectar of aloes (Aloe arborescens, Aloe... read more


    Breeds in Oct in Ethiopia, May in Somalia, May–Jul in Uganda, Apr–Jul (also Nov in N arid region) in Kenya, Mar–Apr in... read more


    Resident, migratory and nomadic. Near Nairobi and on Laikipia Plateau, in Kenya, extensive colonies... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally abundant. Considered a pest in some areas; damages crops in Kenya and Somalia.

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. (2020). Chestnut Weaver (Ploceus rubiginosus). 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 26 February 2020).