Wild Birds

Black-throated Weavers aka Bengal Weavers or Black-breasted Weavers

The Black-throated Weavers, also known as the Bengal Weaver or Black-breasted Weaver (Ploceus benghalensis), is a weaver resident in the northern river plains of the Indian subcontinent.

Local Names: Hindi: Sarbo baya, Bengali: Shor baJa, Kantawala baya. Like the other weavers, the males build an enclosed nest from reeds and mud, and visiting females select a mate at least partially based on the quality of the nest.

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Black-throated Weavers aka Bengal Weavers or Black-breasted Weaver


Resident or local migrant, endemic to South Asia. From NWFP to Indus Valley in Pakistan to the Gangetic Plains of northern India, to Assam and the Northeast and Bangladesh; commonly seen in the Himalayan terai; patchy to the south in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.


  • Size: Sparrow (ca. 15 cm)
  • Appearance: Male in breeding plumage has a brilliant golden-yellow crown, white throat, and a black band separating it from the fulvous-white underparts. In non-breeding males and females, the crown is brown like the rest of the upper plumage; the black pectoral band is less developed. A prominent supercilium, a spot behind the ear, and narrow moustachial streaks, pale yellow. Flocks about cultivation and around reedy margins of tanks and jheels (shallow lakes), or extensive tall grass areas.
  • Behaviour: Polygynous; colonial; on the whole similar to those of the Baya and Streaked Weavers.
  • Courtship: The male constructs the nest single-handedly, with a group of females visiting it during the late construction stage, jumping on the helmets and tugging and testing, presumably for strength. If a female appears interested, the male bows low before her, presenting a golden crown at her. Flaps wings deliberately and sings softly tsi-tsisik-tsisik-tsik-tsik like chirp of cricket or subdued squeaking of unoiled bicycle wheel. Once the female agrees and permits copulation, he quickly finishes the rest of the nest, and she lays eggs inside; he immediately commences on a second nest nearby to attract other females, and occasionally a third, very rarely even a fourth. Nests not accepted by females may be torn down by the builder himself.


  • Season: June to September
  • Nest: Similar to the Streaked Weaver; somewhat smaller and normally with shorter entrance tubes. Built in reed-beds in marsh, often moonj or kans (Saccharum spontaneum), with some of the growing reeds incorporated into the dome as support. The entrance tube is somewhat shorter than Baya weavers (up to about 25cm). At the ‘helmet’ stage of construction, a quantity of wet mud or cow dung is daubed thickly along the edge, with bright-colored scarlet or orange flowers or flower petals (Lantana, Lagerstroemia) incorporated; observations suggest that this is part of the courtship rituals and exercise a direct influence on the reactions of the visiting female, both for this species and the Streaked Weaver.
  • Colony: Singly or in scattered groups of 4 or 5; sometimes larger colonies.
  • Eggs: 3 or 4, white, indistinguishable from those of the other two weavers.

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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