THE LARGE RED-CROWNED WEAVER.
Tanagra malimbica, Daud. Ann. du Mus. Paris, i. 1802, p. 151, female pl. 10, fig. 2.
Tanagra malimbica, Shaw, Nat. Misc. xiv. female (1802).
Malimbus cristatus, Vieill. Ois. Chant, p. 71, pl. xliii. female (1805).
Le Republicain a capuchon ecarlate, Temm. Cat. Cab. Ornith, pp. 102, 234 (1807).
Textor malimbus, Temm. Auct. ?
Ploceus cristatus, Vieill. Nouv. Dict, xxxiv. p. 129, female (1819).
Le Malimbe, ? Temm. Man. d’Ornith. i. p. lxx. (1820).
Ploceus cristatus, Vieill. Tabl. Encycl. Meth. ii. p. 700, female (1823).
Fringilla textrix, Licht. Verz. Doubl. Mus. Berl. p. 24 note (1823).
Ploceus rubricollis, Swains. Anim, in Menag. p. 306 (1838).
Euplectes rufovelatus, Fraser, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1842, p. 142 ; Allen et Thomp. Exped. R. Niger, ii. p. 500 (1848) ; Fraser, Zool. Typica, pl. 46 (1849) ; Verr. Rev. et Mag. 1851, p. 419.
Sycobius rubricollis, Gray et Mitch. Gen. Birds, ii. p. 351 (1844) ; Jard. Contrib. Orn. p. 3 (1849) ; Reichb. Singvogel, p. 90, pl. lxi. figs. 332-334 (1861) ; Bocage, Orn. d’Angola, p. 332, Append, p. 558 (1877).
Ploceus rufovelatus, Gray et Mitch. Gen. Birds, ii. p. 352 (1844).
Sycobius malimbus, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av. i. p. 438 (1850) ; Hartl. Journ, fur Ornith. 1854, p. 105 ; Muller, Journ, fur Ornith. 1855. p. 460 ; Hartl. Orn. Westafr. pp. 132, 274 (1857) ; Cassin, Proc. Acad. N. S. Philad. 1859, p. 135 ; Heine, Journ, fur Ornith. 1860, p. 143 ; Hartl. Journ, fur Ornith. 1861, p. 257 ; Reichn. Journ, fur Ornith. 1875, p. 38.
Malimbus rubricollis, Strickl. Contr. Ornith. 1851, p. 133 ; Elliot, Ibis, 1876, pp. 457, 458, 461.
Textor rufovitatus (error), Eyton, Cat. Coll. Birds, p. 245 (1856).
Sycobius nuchalis, Elliot, Ibis, 1859, p. 393 ; Sharpe, Ibis, 1869, p. 191, 1870, p. 472.
Malimbus textrix, Gray, Hand-List Birds, ii. p. 43 (1870).
Malimbus occipitalis, Gray, Hand-List Birds, ii. p. 43, pt. (1870).
Malimbus rufovelatus Sharpe, Cat. Afr. Birds, p. 60 (1871) ; Ussher, Ibis, 1874, p. 68.
Sycobius rufovelatus, Sharpe et Bouv. Bull. S. Z. France, iii. 1878. p. 75.
Ploceus malimbus, Russ, Stubenvogel, p. 322 (1879).
Malimbus malimbicus, Shelley, Ibis, 1887, p. 40.
Figures. Daud. Ann. du Mus. Paris, i. pl. 10. fig. 2. female. Vieill.
Ois. Chant, pl. xliii. female. Fraser, Zool. Typ. pl. 46. Reichb.
Singvogel, pl. lxi. figs. 332-334.
English. The Red-necked Malimbus. Bed-crowned Eupleetes. The Large Red-crowned Weaver.
French. Le Tanagra de Malimbe femelle. Le Malimbe femelle. Le Malimbe cou-rouge.
German. Der rothhalsige Malimbus. Der Malimbiis.—Prachtweber- rogel.
Habitat. West Africa ; Tributaries of the River Congo, Gold Coast, and Angola. Fernando Po (Fraser). Gaboon, Cape Lopez, and River Camma (Du Chaillu). Fantee country and Denkera ( Ussher). Conde (Lucan et Petit).
Male. Forehead, crown, and hind neck shining scarlet ; whole of back, lores, cheeks, chin throat, and under-parts glossy black ; basal half of the under sides of the inner webs of the primaries greyish-white ; primary quills and those of the tail white on the under side ; iris dark brown ; bill and feet black : length 7.55, wing 4.2, tail 2.9, tars. 1.0 culm. 0.9.
Female. Similar to the male, but with a broad black frontal band which passes over and beyond the eye, and united to the black ear-coverts and cheeks ; iris dark brown ; bill and feet black : length 7.2, wing 4.0, tail 2.85, tars. 0.9, culm. 0.9.
Young male. Dull black ; no black frontal band ; crown and hind neck dull red, bases of the feathers slaty-grey ; chin, throat, and upper part of breast slightly tinged with red.
Young female. Dull black, frontal band, lores, cheeks, and ear-coverts reddish-brown, crown and hind neck pale scarlet with whitish bases ; chin, throat, and upper part of breast slightly tinged with red.
Observ. After a careful examination of sixteen specimens of males, females, and young, I have Come to the conclusion that the birds from Fernando Po form a local race, and can be readily distinguished by the much paler scarlet or orange-red of the crown and hind neck, and by the greater extent of the white at the base of the feathers ; otherwise they are identical with the birds from the mainland of West Africa.
Captain G. E. Shelley very kindly lent me two young females of this species, in which the frontal band, lores, cheeks, and ear-coverts are of a most peculiar reddish-brown ; the tips of the feathers are tinged with faint scarlet. The base of the culmen and under margins of the lower mandible in the youngest bird are yellowish.
In 1802 Daudin described two birds of this genus under the name of Tanagra malimbica, male and female, one with a crest, and the other with a black frontal band without a crest ; and in the same year Mr. George Shaw redescribed the female under Daudin’s appellation ; in 1805 Vieillot refigured the two birds in his elaborate work ‘Oiseaux Chanteurs’ (pl. xlii. and xliii.) under the name of Le Malimbe huppe: (Malimbus cristatus). male et femelle, and in 1807 Temminck distinguished the female above mentioned as Le republicain a capuchon ecarlate (male), but the female, which he characterises thus, La femelle est entierement d'un noir rembruni, is, in my opinion, Ploceus nigerrimus, Vieill., owing to the absence of the scarlet crown and hind neck, which is so conspicuous in the male, female, and young of the species now under consideration.
Following up the synonymy of this bird, which is very extensive, varied, and, to say the least, rather complicated, I here transcribe Mr. D. G. Elliot’s researches (Ibis, 1879, p. 461). He says : “Somewhere about this time (1807), as given by writers generally, Temminck calls the species Textor malimbus ; but, so far as I am concerned, this name cannot stand, for two reasons. One is that I have been unable to find it published anywhere by Temminck, and suppose his name is merely a manuscript one in the Leyden Museum, and therefore not to be considered ; and another is that his term is a repetition of the name of the genus to which the bird belongs, and therefore could not be used, even if I should find it, on account of its liability to create confusion. Swainson, in his ‘Menagerie,’ in 1838, regularly described this species and called it Ploceus rubricollis, and by this specific name the bird should hereafter be known. In 1842 Fraser, in the ‘Proceedings of the Zoological Society,’ gave to it the name of Euplectes rufovelatus ; and in the 'Ibis,’ 1859, I bestowed upon the unfortunate creature the term Sycobius nuchalis. It is well figured by Fraser in his ‘Zoologia Typica,’ and by Vieillot in the ‘Oiseaux Chanteurs.’ ”
Mr. L. Fraser says : “During my residence at Fernando Po, in the early part of the year 1842, I procured two male specimens of this species, the one having the head entirely red, and the other having the black extending across the forehead.
“On reference to my note-book I find the following brief observation : These birds, although in deep moult (in June), appeared to be pairing One specimen was shot from the top of a very lofty tree, the others much nearer the ground. In an apparently young male the black extends across the forehead. A very good songster, and are most active about 5 P.M.”
At present nothing has been published respecting the habits or nidifica¬tion of this bird, although the species appears extremely abundant along the west coast of Africa from the Gold Coast to Angola, and is regularly received in every collection from there.
No. Sex. Mus. Locality. Length. Wing. Tail. Tars. Culm.
a Male E. B. West Africa. 7.55 4.2 2.9 1 0.9
b Male E. B. West Africa. 7.2 4.2 2.85 1 0.9
c Female E. B. West Africa. 7.2 4 2.85 0.9 0.9
d Male E. B. Abouri, West Africa. 6.95 3.95 2.65 0.95 0.85
e Male E. B. Fernando Po, West Africa (Fraser). 7.25 3.85 2.6 0.95 0.9
f Female E. B. Fantee, West Africa (Ussher). 7.1 3.9 2.75 1 0.85
g Male E. B. Fernando Po, West Africa (Burton). 7.55 4 2.6 1 0.85
h Female E. B. Fernando Po, West Africa (Burton). 7.3 3.8 2.6 0.9 0.85
i Male E. B. Gold Coast 6.85 4.1 2.75 0.95 0.75
j Male juv. E. B. Fantee, West Africa 6.5 3.25 2.8 0.8 0.9
k Male E. B. Gold coast (Ussher). 7.8 4.15 2.75 1 0.85
l Male E. B. Gold coast (Ussher). 7.5 4.15 2.75 1 0.8
m Female E. B. Gold coast (Ussher). 7.35 3.85 2.6 0.95 0.8
n Male A. Boucard. Fantee, West Africa. 6.8 4.05 2.85 1 0.8
o Female juv. G. E. Shelley. Gold coast (Ussher). 6.65 4.2 2.75 1 0.8
p Female juv. G. E. Shelley. Abouri, West Africa (G. E. Shelley) 6.6 4.1 2.8 1 0.9
The figures (Plate I.), male and female, are taken from a and f in my own collection.