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Maxwell's Black Weaver - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: White-naped Black Weaver; White-naped Black Widow; White-eyed Weaver; White-eyed Widow

Photo by Mike Barth
Kakum, Ghana, October 2013
Ploceus albinucha


13-15 cm.

  • Black plumage with glossy upperparts
  • White bases on nape feathers, showing as pale patch
  • Greenish-white to white eye
  • Black bill
  • Brown legs
  • maxwelli with completely black nape feathers

Sexes similar. Juveniles are dark brown to blackish above without gloss and dull charcoal-grey on underparts.


Found in western and central Africa from Guinea east to western Uganda.
Uncommon to locally fairly common.


Three subspecies recognized:


Found in lowland evergreen forests and secondary forest, often near rivers and creeks.
Occurs mainly in lowlands, up to 850m in Cameroon.


Assembles at noisy, large roosts in the evening.


Feeds on insects. Takes also berries and nectar from flowering trees.
Forages singly in canopy, in small parties at lower levels. Joins also mixed-species flocks.


Breeding season differs through range. Probably a polygynous species. Breeds in colonies with 20 to 500 nests, sometimes in mixed colonies with Vieillot's Black Weaver and Village Weaver, less often with Orange Weaver.
The nest is a rough ball with the entrance below and almost no tunnel at entrance. It's made of thin creepers or woven from strips of banana. It's placed at the tip of a pendulous branch generally high in the crown of a tree, more than 10m above the ground.


Presumably a resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2010. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 15: Weavers to New World Warblers. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553682

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