Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-weaver (Plocepasser donaldsoni)


French: Mahali de Donaldson German: Dornbuschweber Spanish: Tejedor gorrión de Donaldson

Plocepasser donaldsoni


, 1895,

“Eastern Africa” = Lasamis, Kenya


In the past, this species sometimes treated within a separate genus, Fullerellus. Monotypic.


S Ethiopia and N Kenya; also S Somalia (isolated records at Afmadow).

Descriptive notes

17 cm; 35–45 g. Large sparrow-like weaver with scaly crown and white rump. Forehead and crown are dark brown with pale edges, producing scaly effect; nape and... read more


Song a rambling combination of varied notes, including harsh sounds, whistles and warbling, loudest... read more


Dry bushland, open woodland, grassland and rocky areas, including barren lava country; to 1500 m.

Food and feeding

Grass seeds and insects noted in stomach contents. Forages on ground. Occurs in small flocks, sometimes in association with Dinemellia... read more


Breeds in Jan, Jun, Jul, Sept and Dec in Kenya. No information on mating system; probably a co-operative breeder. Nest a tube of dry grass... read more


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Little known; apparently locally common. Occurs in regions very sparsely populated by humans.

Recommended citation

Craig, A. (2020). Donaldson-Smith's Sparrow-weaver (Plocepasser donaldsoni). 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 20 February 2020).