When it comes to avian biodiversity, Uganda stands out as a birdwatcher’s paradise, boasting a diverse population of over 1000 bird species that inhabit a range of ecosystems, from lush forests to expansive savannahs.
One of Uganda’s cherished endemic bird species is the Fox’s Weaver. This captivating avian creature is of medium size, measuring approximately 14 to 15 centimeters (6 inches) in length. What sets it apart are its distinct features: a robust bill and a relatively short tail, distinguishing it from similar weaver species like Speke’s Weaver (Ploceus spekei) and Heuglin’s Masked Weaver (Ploceus heuglini).
In the male Fox’s Weaver, you’ll find a dark facial mask that gently transitions into a rich golden-yellow coloration across the throat, crown, and nape. The upper back carries a dark hue, while the outer feathers showcase narrow yellow fringes. Its rump is a vivid yellow, and its tail, in contrast, appears light brown to black, conspicuously shorter than other weaver species. All the underparts of the male are adorned in bright yellow.
The female Fox’s Weaver exhibits lighter yellow underparts and yellow-green upperparts, accompanied by a short tail—a distinguishing feature of this remarkable bird.
The Fox’s Weaver is a member of the weaver family that exclusively calls eastern Uganda home. It can be commonly sighted in the districts of Katakwi, Soroti, Kumi, located in the vicinity of the Mount Elgon region, and the Pian Upe Game Reserve—areas nestled in the eastern part of the country.
The conservation and study of the Fox’s Weaver have been pivotal in understanding and preserving this endemic bird species. Nature Uganda, a dedicated organization, has been actively engaged in researching the status of the Fox’s Weaver, especially since it is endemic to the eastern part of Uganda. Accessibility to these areas has historically been challenging due to uncertainties in northeastern Uganda.
The Fox’s Weaver holds a place among globally threatened bird species, sharing this status with other extraordinary avian beings such as the African Green Broadbill, Shoebill, Shelly’s Crimson Wing, and the Congo Serpent Eagle, which finds its sanctuary in Semuliki National Park—a region situated in the lower part of the Congo basin within Uganda.
Bird enthusiasts from around the world have journeyed to Uganda in search of this endemic treasure. The Fox’s Weaver exhibits a preference for the flooded wetland swamps surrounding Lake Ekyoga, Lake Opeta, Lake Bisina, and certain open plains adjacent to farmland bordering the Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve. To maximize your chances of encountering the Fox’s Weaver, birders often dedicate extended periods to explore these regions. For specialized guidance, feel free to contact Trek Africa Expeditions.
The northeastern part of Uganda has, for years, been a challenging area to access due to underdeveloped road networks, which have had implications for tourism activities in the region. Notably, the vast wetland swamp of Lake Opeta, prone to flooding, frequently disrupts road access. Travelers embarking on birding expeditions in this area are advised to utilize sturdy 4×4 vehicles, as navigating through smaller, hilly villages may be necessary to spot this elusive bird.
For birders eager to embark on a quest to spot the Fox’s Weaver, accommodations can be found in the vicinity of Soroti, Sipi Falls, Soroti Town, Kumi Town, and Pian Upe. Camping is often the preferred choice for adventurers, providing an immersive and authentic experience amid the natural wilderness. For more information on lodging options and to organize your excursion to seek out the endangered Fox’s Weaver, contact Trek Africa Expeditions.
Unveil the secrets of the Fox’s Weaver, an endemic bird species that epitomizes the rich avian diversity of Uganda. Immerse yourself in the unspoiled landscapes of eastern Uganda and join the ranks of those who have been captivated by the elusive beauty of this remarkable bird.