Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Near Threatened

Olive-headed Weaver (Ploceus olivaceiceps)


French: Tisserin à tête olive German: Olivkopfweber Spanish: Tejedor cabeciverde

Symplectes olivaceiceps


, 1899,

Songea, Tanzania


In the past considered conspecific with P. nicolli. Isolated population in S Mozambique sometimes separated as race vicarius, defined as shorter-winged and paler in coloration than birds farther N, but original description based on an inadequate comparative sample. Treated as monotypic.


N, W & S Tanzania, E Zambia, C & S Malawi and NW & S Mozambique.

Descriptive notes

14 cm; 17–24 g. Male has forehead golden-yellow with buff wash, crown golden-yellow, passing into olive-yellow on nape; upperparts olive, rump with yellow wash;... read more


Song a short phrase with last 4 notes in a descending cadence, "tzee-twa-twa-twa". Contact calls... read more


Mature miombo (Brachystegia) woodland, where Usnea lichen abundant; to 1700 m.

Food and feeding

Diet primarily insects, including butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), bugs (Hemiptera) and small wasps (Hymenoptera... read more


Breeds in Oct in Zambia, Sept–Oct in Malawi and Aug–Oct in Mozambique. Mono­gamous, pair-members remaining together... read more


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near-threatened. Uncommon. Total population estimated at 20,000 pairs in 1998. Thought to be suffering a population decline... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. (2020). Olive-headed Weaver (Ploceus olivaceiceps). 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).