THE RED-CRESTED WEAVER.
Le malimbe, Sonn. edit, de Buff. Hist. Nat. xlvii. p. 111 (1801).
Tanagra malimbica, Daud. Ann. Mus. Paris, i. 1802, p. 151, pl. 10, fig. 1. male.
Malimbic Tanager, Shaw, Naturalist’s Misc. male pl. 581 (1802).
Malimbus cristatus, Vieill. Ois. Chant, p. 71, pl. xlii. male (1805) ; Gray, Gen. et Subgen. p. 70 (1855) ; Gray, Hand-List Birds, ii. p. 43 (1870) ; Sharpe, Cat. Afr. Birds, p. 60 (1871) ; Sharpe, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1871, pp. 612, 615 : Shelley et Buckl. Ibis, 1872, p. 289 ; Ussher, Ibis, 1874, p. 68 ; Elliot, Ibis, 1876, pp. 457, 459 ; Shelley, Ibis, 1887, p. 40.
Malimbe huppe, Vieill. Analyse (1816), p. 33.
Ploceus cristatus, Vieill. Nouv. Dict, xxxiv. p. 129, male (1819) ; Vieill.
Encycl, ii. p. 700, male (1823) ; Griff. Cuv. Anim. Kingd. Av. ii. pp. 131, 231 (1829) ; Swains. Anim, in Menag, p. 305 (1838) ; Russ, Stubenvogel, p. 320 (1879).
Ficophagus cristatus, Vieill. Auct. ? (1820.)
Le malimbe, Temm. Man. d’Ornith. i. p. lxx, pt. (1820).
Malimbic Tanager, Lath. Gen. Hist. Birds, vi. p. 39 (1823).
Ploceus malimbicus, Steph. Shaw’s Gen. Zool. xiv. p. 34 (1824) ; Stark, Elem. Nat. Hist. i. p. 241 (1828).
Sycobius cristatus, Steph. Shaw’s Gen. Zool. xiv. p. 37 (1824) ; Gray et Mitch. Gen. Birds, ii. p. 351 (1844) ; id. p. 352 (1849) ; Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av. p. 438 (1850) ; Peichb. Syst. Nat. pl. Ixxvi. (1850) ; Hartl. Journ, fur Ornith. 1854, p. 105 : Hartl. Orn. W. Afr. pp. 132, 273 (1857) ; Cassin, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sc. 1857, p. 36, et Proc. Acad. N. S. Philad. 1859. p. 135 ; Heine, Journ, fur Ornith. 1860, p. 143 ; Reichb. Singvogel, p. 90, pl. lxi. f. 331 (1861) ; Sharpe, Ibis, 1869, p. 191, Ibis, 1870, p. 472 ; Sundev. Avium Despon. Tentam, p. 29 (1872) ; Reichn. Journ, fur Ornith. 1875, p. 38 ; Bocage, Jorn. Acad. Sc. Lisboa, 1876, p. 264, et Ornith. d’Angola, p. 331 (1877-81).
Sycobius malimbus, Licht. Nomencl. Av. Mus. Berol, p. 50 (1854). Sycobius nigrifrons, Hartl. Journ, fur Ornith. 1855, p. 356.
Sycobius sp. ? Bocage, Jorn. Lisb. 1867, p. 140.
Figures. Daud. Ann. Mus. Paris, i. pl. 10, fig. 1 male. Shaw, Nat. Misc. pl. 581 male. Vieill. Ois. Chant, pl. 42 male. Reichb. Singvogel, pl. lxi. fig. 331.
English. The Malimbic Tanager male. Red-crested Malimbus. The Hoopoe Malimbus. Red-crested Black Weaver.
French. Le Malimbe male. Le Tanagra de Malimbe. Le Tisserin huppe, ou le Malimbe. Le Malimbe huppe. Cardinal noir et rouge huppe.
German. Der Hauben-Malimbus. Der Hauben-Prachtwebervoqel. ]
Habitat. West Africa. Tributaries of the River Congo, Gold Coast, south to Angola. River Boutry (Pel.). Aguapim (Rus.). Gaboon (Lecomte). Rivers Muni and Camma (Du Chaillu). River Quito, Cabinda (Anchicta). Fantee country and Denkera (Ussher and Kirby). Abouri (Shelley and Buckley). Loango (Falkenstein).
Male. Crown, crest, cheeks, throat, and upper part of breast shining scarlet ; narrow frontal band, lores, space round the eye, chin and whole of back and under parts glossy black ; axillaries and under surface of wings dull brown ; iris dark brown ; bill and feet black : length 5.75, wing 3.3, tail 2.5, tars. 0.8. culm. 0.65.
Female. Similar to the male, but not crested, the scarlet of the crown extending to the mantle ; the black frontal band narrow, and not united on the culmen ; general plumage less glossy ; iris brown ; bill and feet dark brown : length 6.35, wing 3.3, tail 2.65, tars. 0.8, culm. 0.7.
Young. Similar to the female, but dull black ; with the chin and throat blackish.
Observ. In some of the young birds in my collection, the red feathers of the throat are intermixed with the black, showing a gradual moult. The bases of the scarlet feathers of the crown and throat in the adult of both sexes are white ; slaty-grey in the young birds.
Mr. D. G. ELLIOT devoted much time in working out the synonymy of the species of the genus Malimbus, which he published in the ‘ Ibis’ for 1876. I cannot do better than quote his remarks, which are as follows :—“ This species was first described by Daudin (Ann. du Mus. Paris, 1802), from specimens sent from the Congo by Perrein. The type is now in the Paris Museum at the Jardin des Plantes. He called it Tanagra malimbica, and described as the female the species named afterwards Ploceus rubricollis by Swainson. Uncoloured figures are given of both, and descriptions in Latin and French. Vieillot, three years afterwards, figured and described the same specimens in his ‘Oiseaux Chanteurs’ under the name of Malimbus cristatus, by which specific appellation the species has been generally known. He merely followed Daudin, and repeated his error in figuring Swainson’s species as the female. In the ‘ Analyse,’ 1816, where he changed the name of the genus to Sycobius, he gives no Latin name to the species, but calls it the Malimbe huppe ; and in the ‘Nouveau Dictionnaire,’ 1819, three years afterwards, he places it in the genus Ploceus.
“Prof. Barboza du Bocage (Jorn. Sc. Math. Lisboa, 1867) describes a specimen of this genus from Rio Quito, Cabinda, which is evidently, as he states, in immature plumage. Judging from his description, I am inclined to think it is one of the phases of plumage assumed at a certain age by the young of this species.”
It might be supposed that a bird of this size, although smaller than the preceding species, with such attractive colours, and extremely abundant in its native haunts, would have a long history of its mode of life and nidification ; but this, I regret to say, is wanting ; all I can gather respect¬ing its habits was written by M. Perrein about 1801, which I transcribe from Griffith’s edition of Cuvier’s ‘ Animal Kingdom’ :—
“These birds usually sojourn on trees bearing figs, which exactly re¬semble those of Europe, and place their nests on such of the branches as form a triangle. The nest is of a round form, with the aperture worked on the side ; the exterior is composed of fine plants, arranged ingeniously, and the interior is furnished with cotton. The eggs are from three to five, of a greyish colour, and the male and female partake of the incubation. It is in the months of October and November that these birds are found in Malimba ; they remain on the fig trees above mentioned only while they are loaded with fruit ; and when that disappears, the birds disappear also, and do not return till the following year.”
No. Sex. Mus. Locality. Length. Wing. Tail. Tars. Culm.
a Male E. B. Gaboon. 5.75 3.3 2.5 0.8 0.65
b Male E. B. West Africa 5.95 3.05 2.45 0.8 0.65
c Male E. B. West Africa 6.15 3.2 2.44 0.75 0.65
d Female E. B. West Africa 6.35 3.3 2.65 0.8 0.7
e Female E. B. West Africa 6.4 3.25 2.6 0.8 0.7
f Male E. B. Fantee (Kirby). 6.5 3.15 2.41 0.75 0.65
g Female E. B. Fantee (Ussher). 6.15 3.15 2.6 0.8 0.65
h Female E. B. Fantee (Ussher). 5.75 3.05 2.65 0.75 0.65
i Male E. B. Gold Coast (Kirby). 6.35 3.35 2.65 0.7 0.65
j Female juv. E. B. Fantee 5 2.9 2.35 0.7 0.6
k Male A. Boucard. Landana, West Africa. 6.3 3.4 2.45 0.85 0.75
l Female A. Boucard. West Africa 5.95 3.1 2.6 0.75 0.65
m Female A. Boucard. Fantee. 5.6 3.3 2.55 0.75 0.6
n Male H. B. Tristram. Gold Coast.
The figures (Plate II.), male and female, are taken from a and q in my own collection.