Fox's Weaver Ploceus spekeoides


Justification of Red List Category
This species is very poorly known and has only been recorded from one area. It is assumed to have a moderately small population which may be declining. It is possibly threatened by drainage and cattle grazing in its small range. It is therefore classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
This is a poorly known species and no population estimates are available.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Distribution and population

Ploceus spekeoides is a poorly recorded species known from a restricted area of seasonally flooded wetlands in northern Uganda (Collar and Stuart 1985, Byaruhanga et al. 2001, A. Byaruhanga in litt. 2003). The species has been recorded at two Important Bird Areas, Lake Bisina (250 km2) and Lake Opeta (570 km2), and is found in the marshland habitat stretching between these lakes. There are also records from Rhino Camp in Arua and from the environs of Lake Kyoga near Nakasongola. In August 1996, 47 nests of this species were counted around Lake Bisina, since when it has not been recorded breeding (Byaruhanga et al. 2001).


This species's ecology and breeding habits are largely unknown. It has been described as locally common in bushed and wooded grassland in swampy areas (Collar and Stuart 1985). It consumes seeds and probably insects (Fry and Keith 2004). In Uganda, it breeds in June-July. It is a colonial breeder, and constructs an oval nest, consisting of roughly woven grasses (Fry and Keith 2004).


It is undergoing habitat loss in eastern Uganda, with some wetland areas have been drained in its range, including those around Nariam, where the type-specimen was collected (Byaruhanga et al. 2001, H. Mugabe in litt. 2016). Over 20,000 head of cattle move to the Opeta region each dry season (October-February), a factor degrading wooded grasslands upon which the species is dependent for breeding (Byaruhanga et al. 2001, A. Byaruhanga in litt. 2003). The importance of such degradation as a threatening process is unclear. Lake Bisina is poorly known, does not fall within the Karamoja protected-area complex and there are no conservation measures proposed or enacted for the site (Byaruhanga et al. 2001).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Lake Opeta borders Pian-Upe Wildlife Reserve, set up in consideration of traditional cattle-grazing practices in the area (Byaruhanga et al. 2001), a local Red List analysis for Uganda has listed this species as Endangered (WCS 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to assess the species's total population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor the extent of wetland drainage and habitat degradation. Study the impact of potential threats. Carry out detailed research into the species's ecology. Increase the area of suitable habitat in protected areas.


Text account compilers
Westrip, J., Wheatley, H., Ekstrom, J., Taylor, J., Robertson, P., Symes, A.

Byaruhanga, A., Mugabe, H.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Ploceus spekeoides. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/07/2020.