Mystery Bird: Black-headed Weaver, Ploceus melanocephalus

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[Mystery bird] Black-headed Weaver, also known by numerous other common names, including the Yellow-collared (or Yellow-backed) Weaver, Gambian Black-headed Weaver, Victoria Masked-weaver, Lake Victoria Weaver, or the Entebbe Weaver, Ploceus melanocephalus, photographed Ndutu Safari Lodge, Tanzania, Africa. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Dan Logen, 21 January 2010 [larger view].

Nikon D300, 600 mm lens with 1.4 Extender, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/1600 sec.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Can you identify a North American import that is classified into the same taxonomic family as this African species? The House Sparrow, Passer domesticus, is a member of the same taxonomic family; Ploceidae (weaver sparrows).

Review all mystery birds to date.

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looks like the masked weavers we have here in south africa...probably a male because of the red eye (Ploceus velatus?)

If it's a Weaver (and it looks like pictures on the net) as Brandi says, then it's a member of the family Ploceidae, no?

The only member of that family my Sibley's seems to show in the Americas is an old world finch, the Orange Bishop. (Gosh, what a great name for a bird.) Sibley's says it's got a small population in California. But I couldn't find anything in the same genus.

This bird reminds me of a small-town artisan in cloth manufacture.Or its alternative name is the spotty apprentice of the first.

Baby Big Bird.

oops, my bad. i meant to say the same taxonomic family, not genus. i guess the cold medications are rotting my brain out, after 8 days of raging illness (with no end in sight).

You can add Village to your list as well,Grrl.

Hello Carel, Yes there seems to be some confusion here. The Birds of Kenya and N. Tanzania, Zimmerman et al. gives Black-headed or Village Weaver as "cucullatus" and "melanocephalus" as Yellow-backed. I think the latter is out-of-range here as it is confined to the Victoria Lake basin. My bad, I didn't read Grrl's latin name (I mean for the bird, not Grrl herself!) as I just saw Black-headed. I agree this is "cucullatus" by the amount of black in the back feathers, hence my post about Village.