Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Red-billed Buffalo-weaver (Bubalornis niger)


French: Alecto à bec rouge German: Büffelweber Spanish: Bufalero piquirrojo

Bubalornis niger

A. Smith

, 1836,

Kurrichane, South Africa


See B. albirostris. Proposed race militaris (described from Luangwa Valley of N Zambia) is more appropriately lumped within nominate. In the past, race intermedius occasionally placed erroneously within B. albirostris. Two subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • B. n. intermedius (Cabanis, 1868) – C Ethiopia, extreme SE South Sudan, NE Uganda (Karamoja)#R#R, W & S Somalia and Kenya S to C Tanzania.
  • B. n. niger A. Smith, 1836 – W & SW Angola (including isolated population on Luanda-Bengo coastal plain; recorded once in Malanje#R), SW & E Zambia, N half of Namibia, Botswana, W & S Zimbabwe and SW Mozambique S to N provinces of South Africa and N Swaziland.
  • Descriptive notes

    22 cm; male 65–98 g, female 59–90 g. Large blackish buffalo-weaver with brownish or red bill; distinctive unperforated feathered rod anterior to cloaca projecting... read more


    Male song an extended series of chattering or squealing phrases, "cheek cha cheekla-cheekla-chu", "... read more


    Dry thornveld, including mopane (Colophospermum mopane) and mixed acacia-baobab (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet consists largely of insects, including c. 50% beetles (Coleoptera, particularly of weevil family Curculionidae), also grasshoppers (... read more


    Season mainly Mar–Jun in E Africa, Sept–Apr in S Africa; scattered records in other months; may be double-brooded. Mating... read more


    Mainly resident at breeding colonies. In Kenya and South Africa, some evidence for dispersal from... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally common and widely distributed, with large numbers occurring in areas thinly populated by humans, including major reserves. Estimated... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. (2020). Red-billed Buffalo-weaver (Bubalornis niger). 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 21 February 2020).