Black-chinned Weaver Ploceus nigrimentus

Weaver species list / RELATED SPECIES: Black-billed Weaver / Black-chinned Weaver / Black-necked Weaver / Clarke’s Weaver / Lesser Masked Weaver / Little Weaver / Loanga Weaver / Slender-billed Weaver / Spectacled Weaver / Strange Weaver / Tanganyika Masked Weaver

IUCN: Least concern Discovery: 103



Black-chinned Weaver figure from Mackworth (1963)


Black-chinned Weaver distribution, type locality circled
(blue dot – new range)



The Black-chinned Weaver was formally described by Anton Reichenow, a German ornithologist and herpetologist.The Black-chinned Weaver was collected by Jose Alberto de Oliveira Anchieta, a Portuguese explorer and naturalist.

Anchieta moved to Angola with his family, in 1865. He lived in the region of Benguela, establishing a laboratory inside the ruins of a church, and exploring and collecting animals. In 1867, the Portuguese government hired him as a naturalist, but probably also as a secret agent in the Caconda region of Angola. He lived there, researching, exploring and sending many specimens and letters to his scientific correspondents in Lisbon, mainly J.V. Barboza du Bocage.

Unfortunately most of the museum specimens have disappeared, as well as his many letters to Bocage, in a catastrophic fire in the Lisbon Museum in 1978. Anchieta collected 25 new species of mammals, 46 birds and 46 amphibians and ophidians. He did not write any scientific papers, but left this to his correspondents in Lisbon. Many of the species of birds, amphibians, lizards, snakes, fishes and mammals were named after Anchieta.

Anchieta collected two female specimens of the Black-chinned Weaver, but the collection dates are unknown.

The Black-chinned Weaver was first described in 1894 by Jose Vicente Barbosa du Bocage, a Portuguese zoologist and politician. He was curator of the Lisbon Museum. However, Bocage did not realise that he used an invalid name. Several years later, Reichenow realised this when he was working on his book on African birds. Reichenow provided a new name.

The Black-chinned Weaver was first illustrated by Mackworth (1963), many decades after it was first described. The next illustration to be published was a line drawing in Harrison (1965), comparing the basic plumage patterns of several weavers.

Scientific citation

Ploceus nigrimentus Reichenow 1904a, Vögel Afrikas 3 p.39, Galanga, Benguella, Angola.

Meaning of names

nigrimentus, Latin: niger, black; mentum, the chin.

First English name

Black-chinned Weaver (Shelley 1905b).

Alternate names

Angola Weaver.


Jose Alberto de Oliveira Anchieta.

Date collected

Between 1866-1895.

Locality collected

Galanga, Benguella, Angola.

Type specimens

The types were in the Lisbon Museum, but were lost in a fire.

The above is based on Weaver Wednesday 2, a weekly series about the discovery of each weaver species.
This species text first appeared as Weaver Wednesday [220] – Discovery [103]: Black-chinned Weaver on 2016-08-31

1. Basic biology

Identification. The Black-chinned Weaver is a large, dark-backed weaver with a yellow rump, black chin and throat contrasting with the yellow underparts. The female resembles the male but the top of the head is black. The male resembles ‘Reichenow’s Weaver’ P. baglafecht reichenowi (see Baglafecht Weaver) of East Africa, but the Black-chinned Weaver male has the nape yellow rather than black.Black-chinned Weaver map

Distribution. The Black-chinned Weaver is known from south-east Gabon, central Congo-Brazzaville, western Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Bailundu highlands of central Angola (see red areas on map above, based on Birds of Africa). It is localised but not uncommon outside of Angola. It is very scarce in Angola and only ten specimens of this species are known from this country, including two in the Lubango Bird Skin Collection. No subspecies of the Black-chinned Weaver are recognised.

New sightings in recent years were reported from a new area – near Capaia in north-eastern Angola (dark blue circle on map). The global population has been estimated as at least 10000 pairs.

Habitat. The Black-chinned Weaver inhabits open savanna with bushes and trees up to 8 m tall, often near gallery forest. It occurs in pairs or small groups but keeps to the tops of low trees.

Food. Grass seeds and insects have been recorded as food items.

Breeding. Breeding information was unpublished until recently. The Black-chinned Weaver nests in small colonies, with up to ten nests in a single tree in Gabon. The nests are very large for weavers, woven mostly from coarse grass, giving a slightly untidy appearance. A collected nest was lined with finer grass, and had a ceiling (a layer of grass placed against the roof inside the main structure). The nest entrance is located on the side but near the top of the nest.

The eggs and chicks, breeding season and other aspects of breeding biology of the Black-chinned Weaver are still unknown.


Black-chinned Weaver
Black-chinned Weaver nest,
figure from PHOWN

The above is based on Weaver Wednesday, a weekly series about weaver species.
This species text first appeared as Weaver Wednesday [42]: Black-chinned Weaver on 2013-04-03

2. Breeding facts

Pair bond
no information

Breeding season
not recorded

Nest site
no information

Nest building
no information

Colony size

Clutch size
no information

Egg colour
no information

Egg size
no information

no information

Chicks and nestling period
no information

Breeding information based on Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 15.

3. Photos of Weaver Nests

Vm 26200

Vm 5305

Vm 5304

Thumb-nails of recent PHOWN records