1012. Ploceus benghalensis

(1012) Ploceus benghalensis (Linn.).
THE BLACK-THROATED WEAVER-BIRD.
Ploceus benghalensis, Fauna B, I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 72.
This Weaver-Bird is resident and breeds in Northern India from Sind to Eastern Assam and Manipur, while I have recently had it reported from Northern Arrakan, whence, however, I have not seen specimens. Betham found it breeding as far South as Baroda, Wenden obtained nests near Bombay City, and it is common in many places in the United Provinces and very common in Bengal and Bihar. In some places in the Terai it ascends the hills to some height, and Primrose found them breeding freely at 4,000 feet in the Longview Tea Estate near Kurseong in Sikkim.
Unlike the Weaver-Birds whose nidification has already been described this bird makes its nest in bushes or, much more often, in grass and reeds. It does not seem to matter much whether this is long grass in a wayside ditch or grass and reeds in a wide expanse of open grassland. In Cachar and Sylhet I found numerous colonies breeding in the vast expanses of “sun" grass stretching for miles in every direction. Here the birds bred in smaller and rather scattered colonies broken up into small groups of three to eight pairs, with, perhaps, twenty to forty pairs collected in a radius of 100 yards. Many of these colonies were in grassland quite dry under foot, hut most were in damp patches or in grass and reeds actually growing in water. In Lakhimpur several small colonies bred beside the small railway running from the coal-mines at Margherita to Dibrugarh. On either side were lines of borrow- pits from which the railway bank had been made ; these, full of water, were overgrown with coarse reeds on which the nests were built, the jungle and forest touching the borrow-pits on one side and the railway the other.
Generally, I think, they prefer wet sites in which to breed and Cripps, in Faridpur, writes of their breeding in hushes on a high bank overlooking a river-bed, while Wenden found them nesting in a small swampy place with water 6 to 18 inches deep.
The nests are like those of the Common Bayas, hut have no neck and very seldom tubes of more than an inch or two in length. Some nests have no tubes at all but, rarely, one sees a tube as much as six inches to two feet long. The globular part is not so neatly woven as those of the pear-shape, nor so tight and compact, but they are quite strong and, nearly always, some of the blades of grass, or twigs of the bushes from which they hang are incorporated in the nest. As usual there is no lining.
The birds breed rather regularly during May and June, but Inglis found a small colony breeding in Tirhut in March and took eggs on the 13th of that month. On the other hand at Baroda Betham obtained many eggs in August.
The eggs in a clutch are generally three or four, though occasionally two only are incubated, and I have seen one or two fives. They are indistinguishable from eggs of other species of this genus.
One hundred eggs average 20.3 x 15.0 mm. : maxima 22.4 x 14.6 and 21.8 x 15.3 mm. ; minima 18.1 x 13.5 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1012. Ploceus benghalensis
Spp Author: 
Linn.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1012
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
7
Common name: 
Black Throated Weaver Bird
M_ID: 
29633
M_CN: 
Black-breasted Weaver
M_SN: 
Ploceus benghalensis
Volume: 
Vol. 3
id: 
14104

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