Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Scaly-fronted Weaver (Sporopipes squamifrons)


French: Sporopipe squameux German: Schnurrbartweber Spanish: Tejedorcito escamoso
Other common names: Scaly Weaver, Scaly-feathered Weaver, Scaly-feathered Finch

Estrelda [sic] squamifrons

A. Smith

, 1836,

Kuruman, Northern Cape, South Africa


Proposed race fuligescens (described from R Modder N of Bloemfontein, in Free State, South Africa) regarded as inseparable from individuals elsewhere in species’ range. Status of form pallidus (described from Caraculo, Namibe Province, in S Angola) uncertain#R; here treated as a synonym. Monotypic.


SW Angola, Namibia (except for coastal desert), extreme S Zambia, Botswana, W & C Zimbabwe, and NC & S South Africa (including isolated populations in SE Karoo).

Descriptive notes

11 cm; 10–14 g. Very small, pale finch-like weaver with pink bill and black malar stripes. Forehead and crown feathers are black with arrow-shaped white margins; side... read more


Male song a repetitive 2-note "kreep krop, kreep krop". Female solicits copulation with... read more


Dry acacia (Acacia) savanna, scrub and bushes along dry watercourses, and bushy areas near... read more

Food and feeding

Diet primarily small seeds, such as those of grasses Aristida and Schmidtia; also insects, including termites (Isoptera... read more


Breeds at any time of year when conditions favourable; peak months Feb–Mar in Zambia, Dec–Apr in Botswana, Jan–Mar in... read more


No regular pattern of movement detected; locally nomadic during periods of food shortage.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to abundant in many areas. Estimated population in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, on SW Botswana-South Africa border, more than 500,000... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. (2020). Scaly-fronted Weaver (Sporopipes squamifrons). 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).