Lesser Masked Weaver
The boldly colourful Lesser Masked Weaver (Ploceus intermedius) is one of many African Weaver birds in the Ploceidae family. Their are two sub species of the bird, P. i. intermedius, found generally in East Africa and P. i. cabanisii found in Southern Africa. Other Weavers in the Ploceidae 'family' include the Southern Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus), Eastern Golden Weaver (Ploceus subaureus) and Thick Billed Weaver (Amblyospiza albifrons) to name but a few.
The Lesser Masked Weaver is distributed throughout much of the Northern part of Southern Africa as well as East Africa where it has several alternative names like the Abyssinian Masked Weaver, Black-cheeked Weaver, Cababis's Masked Weaver, Ethiopian Masked Weaver. However, its best known in Southern Africa as the Lesser Masked Weaver.
In breeding plumage the Lesser Masked Weaver males are yellow with a black mask, pale eye and thin bill. The females as well as the non-breading males are a lot duller with greyish blue legs and an eye that is also pale in colour.
As far as habitat goes the Lesser Masked Weaver is similar to many other weavers in the family in that it prefers a variety of habitats, acacia savanna, open woodland and thornveld,, human habitation and closeness to water are also habitats where the Lesser Masked Weaver can be found.
The Lesser Masked Weaver is polygamous with a few mating sexual partners during the breeding season, which is between August - March each year. Its possible to find Lesser Masked Weavers mixed at this time with a variety of other weaver species. Nests are dome shape and have a short, narrow entrance tunnel at the bottom from which the birds enter. Nest are built by the male the females job once happy with the nest site is to line it with soft grass or feathers but it is not always the case nest are lined
With up to 4 eggs of a pale blue/white colour are produced that are incubated by the female solely, both parents however feed there young. The Lesser Masked Weaver is sometime s parasitised by the Diederik Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx caprius)
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