email a friend
printable version
VU
Yellow-legged Weaver Ploceus flavipes

Justification
This species has a small range and a small declining population owing to the ongoing destruction and fragmentation of its lowland forest habitat. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Li
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Synonym(s)
Malimbus flavipes Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)

Identification
20 cm. Large, all-black forest weaver with white eye. At close range in direct sunlight shows greenish edges to head and mantle feathers, which gives a scaling effect. Brown vent. Female a duller version of male and lacks green sheen. Bright yellow legs and feet are diagnostic. Juvenile is brownish overall with shadow of yellow collar and olive on belly and vent. Pale flesh legs. Similar spp. Vieillot's Black Weaver P. nigerrimus lacks greenish sheen and yellow legs and toes and does not usually occur in deep forest. Maxwell's Black Weaver P. albinucha also all-black with pale eye, but lacks yellow legs and feet. Voice Undescribed.

Distribution and population
Ploceus flavipes is known only from central and eastern Ituri Forest in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where it would appear to be uncommon (J. Hart in litt. 2000). It occurs from Avakubi east to Simbo and Campi y Wanbuti, south to Ukaika, and then east to Lima, Tungudu and Makayobe. There are fewer than ten known specimens, taken between 1910 and 1959, and only two sight records since, from Okapi Faunal Reserve in 1990 and 1994. The paucity of records has led to the suggestion that it might possibly not be a valid species - records instead representing occasional hybrids, most likely between Ploceus nigerrimus and P. albinucha (Craig 2005) - however it is uncertain why hybrids should apparently only occur in a tiny part of the the easternmost fringe of the ranges of the putative parents (and P. nigerrimus is not a bird of intact forest) (L. D. C. Fishpool in litt. 2010). It may prove to be a valid species which occurs at very low densities in a poorly-known region.


Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
The species's population is suspected to be declining in line with the clearance of forest within its range, although the likely rate of decline has not been estimated.

Ecology
It appears to be restricted to lowland rainforest where it is found in the tops of tall and medium-sized trees. Its diet includes caterpillars. The breeding season may start around September.

Threats
Its habitat is in serious danger from forest clearance (mainly for agriculture). It is likely that the rate of deforestation has increased in recent years as a result of warfare (Kanyamibwa 1995).

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in the Okapi Faunal Reserve.Conservation Actions Proposed
Extend the northern part of the Virunga National Park westwards, to include the eastern part of the Ituri Forest. Conduct surveys to ascertain the present status of the species (once the security situation allows this) (Butchart 2007). Carry out regular surveys to monitor population trends (as long as the security situation is conducive). Monitor rates of deforestation within its range. Carry out research into the condition of habitat and presence of threats (once the security situation allows this) (Butchart 2007). Clarify the taxonomic status of the species (it has been suggested that it could represent occasional hybrids between Ploceus nigerrimus and P. albinucha, Craig 2005).


References
Butchart, S. H. M. 2007. Yellow-legged Weaver Ploceus flavipes. Bulletin of the African Bird Club 14(2): 149.

Collar, N. J.; Stuart, S. N. 1985. Threatened birds of Africa and related islands: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, and International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, U.K.

Craig, A. J. F. K. 2005. Rare weavers (Aves: Ploceidae): are some Ploceus species hybrids? In: B. A. Huber et al. (ed.), African Biodiversity, pp. 279-286. Springer.

Kanyamibwa, S. 1995. Viewpoint: war and conservation. World Birdwatch 17: 24.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Contributors
Fishpool, L., Hart, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Ploceus flavipes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/07/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Ploceidae (Weavers and allies)
Species name author Chapin, 1916
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 18,700 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species