Ploceus (Hyphantornis) rubriceps Sundevall, 1850, Upper Caffraria, near the Tropic = Mohapoani, Rustenburg district, South Africa. brown wings, curved black tail. Bill steel blue. Female and subadult birds, upperparts dark brown with paler edges to feathers, underparts buffy. Bill brown. Non-breeding adult male like female, but bill dark bluish.
Central Kenya and northern Tanzania.
Highland grasslands, above 4,900 ft (1,500 m).
Gregarious, in flocks when feeding, gathering in communal roosts at night. Breeding areas traditional, and same sites used in successive years.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Mainly grass seeds, also some insects such as winged termites.
Polygynous, with a lek mating system. Male displays at dancing ring, a circle of flattened grass about 24 in (60 cm) in diameter, surrounding a central tuft. Facing tuft, male jumps to various heights, up to 1 yd (1 m) into the air while calling. If female lands in ring, courtship and mating may follow. Female builds nest, a ball of woven grass with side entrance, close to the ground in a grass tuft. Nesting area usually about 330 yd (300 m) from lek. Lays two to four eggs, usually after main rains. Incubation 12–13 days, fledging 17 days. Female alone incubates, and feeds young on regurgitated grass seeds, not insects.
Vulnerable because of limited range, dependence on grasslands which are being altered by agricultural activity.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Flocks may damage grain crops of subsistence farmers.
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