Family Weavers (Ploceidae)

Least Concern

White-headed Buffalo-weaver (Dinemellia dinemelli)


French: Alecto à tête blanche German: Starweber Spanish: Bufalero cabeciblanco

Textor dinemelli


, 1845,

Shoa, Ethiopia


Races intergrade in S Kenya and NE Tanzania. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. d. dinemelli (Rüppell, 1845) – E South Sudan, SW, S & E Ethiopia, Somalia (except NE), NE Uganda, Kenya (except SE) and NE Tanzania.
  • D. d. boehmi (Reichenow, 1885) – SE Kenya S to SC Tanzania.
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; 57–85 g. Large, mainly white buffalo-weaver. Nominate has white forehead, crown and nape, bare black skin around eye and between eye and base of bill; mantle and... read more


    Song slow, drawn out, with piercing nasal calls and trills, phrases such as "tsu-weely-weely-... read more


    Dry bush and savanna thornveld, mainly below 1400 m; rarely grassland or riverine vegetation.

    Food and feeding

    Feeds mainly on insects, also seeds and fruit; beetles (Coleoptera) and caterpillars (Lepidoptera) found in stomach contents. Forages... read more


    Season probably dependent on local rainfall: Aug–Sept and Dec in Sudan, Apr–Aug in Ethiopia, Feb–Jun and Sept in Somalia... read more


    Apparently resident. Variations in numbers in Tsavo National Park, in S Kenya, suggest some local... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in most of range. Occurs primarily in arid regions with sparse human population, and present in protected areas throughout its... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. (2020). White-headed Buffalo-weaver (Dinemellia dinemelli). 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).