The Ploceinae or Weaver-birds comprise a large number of birds which are found in Africa and South-eastern Asia. They are Finch-like in structure and appearance, but they differ from the Finches in having ten primaries and in undergoing a partial spring-moult.
The Weaver-birds are gregarious, breeding in company, and associating at other seasons in large flocks. They construct elaborate nests of grass which are suspended from the branches of trees or attached to the stalks of tall reeds. The eggs are either two or three in number, in the genus Ploceus pure white, in Ploceella of various colours.
The males of these birds have a distinct summer and winter plumage, and the former is acquired by a moult of the feathers of those parts which undergo a change of colour. The moult in the spring is thus apparently partial.
All the Weaver-birds are sedentary in their habits, fearless of man in the breeding-season, but. more wary at other times. They feed largely on grain and seeds. They have no song, but they keep up a ceaseless chirping in the breeding-season, especially when the building of the nest is in progress.
The Asiatic Weaver-birds form two well-defined genera, differing in structure and their mode of nidification, as well as in the colour of their eggs.
Key to the Genera.
a. Bill considerably longer than it is high ; no nuchal hairs; difference between length of
wing and length of tail more than length of tarsus……………………PLOCEUS, p. 174.
b. Bill as long as it is high ; nuchal hairs present; difference between length of wing and length of tail much less than length of tarsus……………………PLOCEELLA, p. 179.