Weavers bathing

Southern Red Bishop, female and male bathing in shallow stream at Intaka Island


Many birds bathe to help clean their feathers, but some species do not seem to bathe. Species that often bathe include thrushes, bulbuls, babblers, finches. Birds may bathe when it is sunny, but also when it is cold.

Southern Masked Weaver, male bathing vigorously


Many weaver species are fond of bathing. Weavers are usually very vigorous bathers, splashing the water a lot. Weavers often come to bird baths to drink and bathe, but may also bathe under garden sprinklers, at stream edges, puddles in roads (after rain), and even in wet grass or leaves.

Village Weavers bathing in puddle in road


Table – list of Southern African weavers

Where notes are blank, I do not have a record (published or observed) of the species bathing

  Species   Latin  Notes
  Thick-billed Weaver   Amblyospiza albifrons recorded
  Scaly-feathered Finch   Sporopipes squamifrons
  White-browed Sparrow-weaver   Plocepasser mahali recorded
  Sociable Weaver   Philetairus socius  1 record, does not usually bathe
  Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver   Bubalornis niger recorded
  Red-billed Quelea   Quelea quelea recorded
  Red-headed Quelea   Quelea erythrops
  Cardinal Quelea   Quelea cardinalis
  Yellow-crowned Bishop   Euplectes afer recorded
  Red-collared Widowbird   Euplectes ardens recorded
  Black-winged Bishop   Euplectes hordeaceus
  Southern Red Bishop   Euplectes orix frequent bather
  Yellow Bishop   Euplectes capensis recorded
  Yellow-mantled Widowbird   Euplectes macroura
  White-winged Widowbird   Euplectes albonotatus
  Fan-tailed Widowbird   Euplectes axillaris
  Long-tailed Widowbird   Euplectes progne
  Red-headed Weaver   Anaplectes rubriceps recorded
  Dark-backed Weaver   Ploceus bicolor recorded
  Olive-headed Weaver   Ploceus olivaceiceps
  Spectacled Weaver   Ploceus ocularis recorded
  Lesser Masked Weaver   Ploceus intermedius recorded
  Holub’s Golden Weaver   Ploceus xanthops recorded
  Eastern Golden Weaver   Ploceus subaureus recorded
  Southern Masked Weaver   Ploceus velatus  frequent bather
  Chestnut Weaver   Ploceus rubiginosus  recorded
  Cape Weaver   Ploceus capensis frequent bather
  Village Weaver   Ploceus cucullatus frequent bather
  Southern Brown-throated Weaver   Ploceus xanthopterus


Some non-Southern African species that have been recorded to bathe are:

  • Rodrigues Fody Foudia flavicans
  • Baglafecht Weaver Ploceus baglafecht


Dark-backed Weaver bathing
Dieter is a qualified Bird Ringer and trainer, registered bird guide, and Weaver expert. Dieter is able to act as a bird guide for day trips in Cape Town, and is able to customise birds tours in South Africa and beyond.