The aptly named Thick-billed Weaver or Grosbeak Weaver (Amblyospiza albifrons) is a member of the same Ploceidae family as the Lesser-masked Weaver (Ploceus intermedius), Southern Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus) and the Eastern Golden Weaver (Ploceus subaureus) to name but of few African Weavers of this large family of weaver birds.
The Thick-billed Weaver is in a monotypic genus namely Amblyospiza, this genus name meaning is 'blunt finch'. The Thick-billed Weaver is easily identifiable in the field, a distinct weaver undoubtedly with the male Thick-billed Weaver having a very dark brown plumage with a bold white patch directly above his thick conical black beak. The beak is somewhat similar in size and shape to that of African Barbets, further distinctive white wing patches also appear on the males.
The female Thick-billed Weaver is quite dull and dissimilar by comparison, with a heavy set bill but yellowish in colour, brown upper parts and with underparts that are white and heavily striped.
Their food consists mainly of seeds, soft fruit and insects, which makes for quite a large bird of some 18 cm (8in) with males weighing 35–57 g (1.2 - 2 oz) and females slightly less in weight 34–53 g. (1.1 - 1.8 oz) . The Thick-billed Weaver for the most part is found near water and well-wooded areas, during the breeding season which takes place between November to March Thick-billed Weavers can be found in dams and wetlands nesting amongst the reeds.
The nest of the Thick-billed Weaver is very distinctive, a compact woven nest with thin pieces of reed which it strips off the main plant, this is then woven between upright stems of reeds themselves. Globally roundish in shape with a side entrance close to the top this very fine material is used to give the nest a neat appearance, but actually the weave is very ordinary. Initially the entrance is large but reducing to a narrow opening when used for breeding.
This species like a lot of weavers is polygamous, with the male attracting several females. during the breeding season. The egg clutch consists of 3 eggs, which are white to pinkish, spotted with red, purple and brown.
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