Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus)


French: Tisserin gendarme German: Dorfweber Spanish: Tejedor común

Oriolus cucullatus

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Four subspecies groups, based largely on head pattern of breeding-plumaged males; vocalizations complex, more research required. Race nigriceps sometimes considered a separate species, but intergrades with spilonotus in S Africa involving “4 main types of intermediate plumage”#R and no more distinctive than the other races. Proposed races bohndorffi (Stanley Falls, in DRCongo), frobenii (Lomami, in DRCongo), femininus (SE Rwenzori, in Uganda) and graueri (N end of L Tanganyika) synonymized with nominate, paroptus (Arabuko-Sokoke, in coastal Kenya) with nigriceps, and dilutescens (S Mozambique) with spilonotus; paroptus sometimes misspelt paropterus (original description checked). Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. c. cucullatus (Statius Müller, 1776) – Village Weaver – S Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, and S & SW Mali, E to S Chad, SW Sudan, W & S South Sudan, Uganda and W Kenya, S to Liberia, Ivory Coast, N Gabon, NE Congo, most of DRCongo, Rwanda and W Tanzania; also Bioko.
  • P. c. abyssinicus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – C Eritrea, N, W & C Ethiopia, adjacent Sudan and South Sudan.
  • P. c. collaris Vieillot, 1819 – Mottled Weaver – S Gabon, S Congo, W DRCongo and W Angola.
  • P. c. nigriceps (E. L. Layard, 1867) – Layard's Weaver – extreme SE Ethiopia, SE Somalia, S Kenya, Tanzania, SE DRCongo, E Angola, Zambia, Malawi, NE Namibia (Caprivi Strip), N & SE Botswana, Zimbabwe and N Mozambique.
  • P. c. spilonotus Vigors, 1831 – Spot-backed Weaver – S Mozambique, Swaziland and E South Africa; occasional in Lesotho.
  • Introduced in West Indies (nominate race), Venezuela, and on Mauritius and Reunion (spilonotus), and probably introduced on São Tomé (nigriceps).

    Descriptive notes

    17 cm; male 33–46 g and female 26–37 g (nigriceps), male 33–47 g and female 29–40 g (spilonotus). Male nominate race breeding has... read more


    Song an extended, descending chatter, "cheee cheee shrrr zzzzzrrr cheee ch-ch-ch-ch",... read more


    Bushy savanna, riverine woodland, wetlands, cultivated areas, rural villages, urban and suburban... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet seeds, including grass seeds such as Rottboellia exaltata, Sorghum arundicearum, cultivated cereals (sorghum, rice,... read more


    Breeds Jul–Oct in Mauritania, May–Nov in Senegal and Gambia, Sept–Apr in Liberia, Jul–Aug inland in Ghana (Feb... read more


    Predominantly resident. Evidence of seasonal movements during dry season in W & E Africa. In S... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. One of the most abundant and widespread weaver species in Africa. Estimated population in Swaziland 20,000 individuals, in Kruger National Park (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. & de Juana, E. (2020). Village Weaver (Ploceus cucullatus). 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).