Clarke's Weaver Ploceus golandi


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a small and fragmented range, within which its woodland habitat is being cleared for cultivation and being altered by selective tree-cutting, such that its very small population is presumed to be declining (Collar and Stuart 1985). It is therefore listed as Endangered.

Population justification
The population was estimated to be not more than 1,000-2,000 pairs (2,000-4,000 mature individuals) in the early 1980s, and there has not been a more recent assessment. This estimate is roughly equivalent to 3,000-6,000 individuals in total.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be declining at a moderate rate in line with the clearance and degradation of its forest habitat.

Distribution and population

Ploceus golandi is known only from Kilifi County in southeastern Kenya. Most records are from the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (350 km2 occupied by this species [Bennun and Njoroge 1999]), but it is also recorded from the Dakatcha Woodland IBA northwest of Malindi, and to the north of the Sabaki river (300 km2  [Bennun and Njoroge 1999, Jackson et al. 2015]), including the eastern edge of Galana Ranch east to Marafa and Hadu (Zimmerman et al. 1996). The population was estimated to be not more than 1,000-2,000 pairs in the early 1980s and there has not been a more recent assessment.


Outside the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, the species is confined to lowland Brachystegia woodland (Zimmerman et al. 1996). Within the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, it has been recorded from all forest habitats, although it is commonest in Brachystegia woodland. Occurs in noisy but somewhat erratic flocks of 5-30 birds and also sometimes observed in mixed species flocks (Fry and Keith 2004). It feeds high up in the canopy on beetles and caterpillars, mainly in Brachystegia spiciformis forest, but it also forages in other types of forest and forest edge, including Salvadora persica trees. This species forages in forest, but two breeding events have been recorded in seasonal wetlands in the Dakatcha area in 2013 and 2015 (Ng’weno, 2013, Ng’weno, 2015, Jackson et al. 2015). It had previously been noted that the species may not breed in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest, since it appears to be largely absent during April-July, reappearing with young in August and thence regularly seen into November, with few records from December-February (Zimmerman et al. 1996). It is believed to have bred north of the Sabaki river in 1994, when many juveniles were observed near Dakatcha in mid-July (Zimmerman et al. 1996). It nests colonially in seasonal wetlands, sometimes in large numbers, when conditions are right during the rainy season - March and May have been recorded. It may not nest every year if conditions are unsuitable. At the moment there is enough Brachystegia forest and seasonal wetlands to sustain the population; but this weaver needs a very large area to feed in (F. Ng'weno in litt. 2016).


Clearance of woodland for agriculture is the main threat to the species, e.g. at Dakatcha where hilltops are being extensively cleared for cultivating pineapples, and where woodland is also being damaged by cutting of Brachylaena trees (in great demand for fuelwood and carving-timber) (Bennun and Njoroge 1999). Forest at Arabuko-Sokoke continues to be degraded by both illegal logging and licensed wood removal. There is also some political pressure for degazettement of the Kararacha-Mpendakula section of this forest (Waiyaki and Bennun 1999). Although considerable areas of Brachystegia forest remain, the forest is being reduced by both small-scale agriculture and proposed large-scale agricultural schemes. Forest area is also reduced by logging and charcoal production. Clarke’s Weaver needs extensive Brachystegia forest to feed in, and reduction in the extent of forest will impact its chances of survival (F. Ng'weno in litt. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is the focus of a project to promote long-term conservation of the forest through sustainable management and community participation in forest conservation (Fanshawe 1997). Dakatcha Woodland Conservation Group and Nature Kenya have enacted an education awareness campaign with a brochure aimed at decision-makers published in 2016 and others in preparation (F. Ng'weno in litt. 2016). Nature Kenya has had a presence in both Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Dakatcha Woodland since the early 2000s. Arabuko-Sokoke Forest is a national Forest Reserve managed by a Management Team composed of several government agencies as well as Nature Kenya. Its status is strong, but illegal logging continues. Dakatcha Woodland is community land held in trust by Kilifi County. Part of it lies in Galana Ranch, owned by the Agricultural Development Corporation. In 2015, the Kenya Forest Service, Kilifi County, Nature Kenya, Dakatcha Woodland Conservation Group and other stakeholders developed and published a Participatory Management Plan for Dakatcha Woodland, 2014-2019. Several Community Conserved Areas of high quality were identified and demarcated; and monitoring of birds is ongoing. A project funded by BirdLife Denmark through CISU in both Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Dakatcha Woodland is underway to reduce the depletion of forested Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) and contribute to the best and most sustainable forest management practices for the benefit of all (F. Ng'weno in litt. 2016). Kenya's National Environment Management Authority and Kenya Forest Service have withstood pressure for habitat alteration in the Dakatcha Woodland (Mwongela 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Gazette Dakatcha Forest as a forest reserve or area with similar protected status (Bennun and Njoroge 1999) and work with the community and Kilifi County Government to ensure protection of the habitat. Enforce legislation controlling forest-use in Arabuko-Sokoke. Better define its habitat and breeding requirements, in particular its tolerance of forest degradation. Census and monitor its population size. Improve knowledge of its distribution. Continue efforts to conserve Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Dakatcha Woodland.


13-14 cm. Small, woodland weaver. Male black above with black head and breast. Canary-yellow underparts fade to white on belly, with yellow-and-white vent. Female olive above, with yellow underparts. Both sexes have golden-yellow edgings to wing-covert feathers. Similar spp. Forest Weaver P. bicolor lacks yellow on wing-coverts. Voice Typical weaver-like squizzlings and chirpings. Hints Most frequently seen in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (Kenya), from August to March.


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Evans, M., Shutes, S., Starkey, M., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.

Ng’weno, F.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Ploceus golandi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/07/2020.