(1016) Ploceella chrysaea.
The Golden Weaver-Bird.
Ploceus chrysaeus Hume, Str. Feath., vi, p. 399, footnote (1878) (Tenasserim). Ploceus javanensis. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 180.
Vernacular names. Nok-a-chap-yippon (Siam).
Description. - Adult male in Summer. Lores, cheeks, ear-coverts, chin and throat velvety black ; a narrow broken moustachial streak, crown, neck and lower plumage bright golden yellow, deepest on the crown and upper breast; rump and upper tail-coverts paler yellow; back and wing-coverts blackish brown, each feather broadly margined with yellow; wing-quills black edged with yellowish white; tail brown edged and narrowly tipped with yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown, the eyelids greyish; bill black, the gonys often paler and horny or plumbeous horny; legs and feet yellow-tan to fleshy, claws darker.
Measurements. Total length about 150 mm.; wing 65 to 69 mm. ; tail 49 to 52 mm.; tarsus about 20 mm.; culmen 15 to 16 mm.
Male in Winter and Female. A fairly distinct supercilium buff; crown fulvous-brown streaked with blackish like the back; rump, upper tail-coverts and tail dull rufous-brown, the latter edged with fulvous instead of yellow; lower plumage tawny-buff, richest on throat and breast, palest on abdomen and under tail-coverts. The bill is light fleshy-brown.
Young like the female but more rufous.
Distribution. Upper Burma and Pegu between the Irrawaddy and Sittoung Rivers from Mandalay down to the Gulf of Martaban ; Northern Tenasserim ; Siam : Cochin China, Java.
Nidification. The Golden Weaver-Bird breeds in Lower Burma and Siam from July to September, occasionally in June. It builds two types of nests ; the one most commonly made is a spherical affair of grasses, bamboo leaves, strips of grass, bark or plantain leaves, etc. well woven and fixed to upright stems of grasses and reeds or bush twigs. The entrance is on one side and has no tube and the whole effect of the nest is very untidy. The second and less common type of nest is like that of the Striated Weaver, though it never has the tube more than an inch or two long, and is attached to the ends of branches of bushes or tips of reeds from which it hangs. Mr. E. G. Herbert and others have drawn attention to the way the Golden Weaver selects either very thorny and inaccessible sites for its nests, or else such as are in close proximity to hornets' nests or to colonies of red ants.
Two is the usual complement of eggs laid, sometimes three, but rarely four. Pure white eggs are exceptional and they range through all shades of pale grey, pale greenish grey, dove-colour, pale purplish-stone, mauve-grey, lilac-grey or brownish. Most eggs are practically uniform, the stipplings of darker colour being so fine as not to show; in others the freckles are more definite and in a few there may be a well-marked ring of darker spots or a few hair-like lines and scriggles. One hundred eggs average 18.2 x 13.8 mm. : maxima 20.2 X 14.1 and 19.0 x 14.8 mm. ; minima 16.1 x 12.3 mm.
Habits. Very like those of the birds of the genus Ploceus. They are familiar birds, often breeding in close proximity to villages and houses, where there are suitable ponds or patches of swamp with reeds and bushes. They are birds of the open grass-lands and wide areas of shallow reed- and ekra-covered water. They have no song but a constant conversational chatter which is pleasant and soft and they are very gregarious in their habits throughout the year. Their principal food is grass seed, but they will eat any kind of grain, most fruits and are said also to eat many kinds of insects, more especially during the breeding-season.