Speke’s Weaver

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ploceus spekei

  • SWAHILI NAME: Kwera Kidari-kahawia

Speke’s weavers are prodigious builders of nests, some of which become homes for red-cheeked cordon-bleaus, northern grey-headed sparrows, cut-throat finches, African silverbills, chestnut sparrows, and superb starlings.

Speke’s Weaver

Speke’s Weaver



Daily Rhythm




Conservation Status

least concern


28-43 g


Length: 15 cm

Speke’s Weaver

Trivia Question

Why are many chicks found dead in breeding colonies?


Birds are known to abandon their nests for many reasons, including pest infestation and not finding enough food to feed their young.

Social Structure

Males can have more than one mate, and these weavers nest in colonies that can contain more than 200 nests in a single tree.


Known for their constant chattering in colonies, Speke’s weavers also call with a sharp “tseep” to make contact with each other.


Often found in small groups, these weavers leave their breeding colonies when they are not nesting. Males will often destroy unused or partly completed nests.


Least concern


Speke’s weavers feed on seeds and insects, particularly termites.


Males can have more than a dozen nests in one tree; they often start building, mainly in acacia trees, before females arrive. While only the females incubate the eggs, both parents will feed chicks.

Friends & Foes

Parasitic fly larvae cause a significant amount of chick mortality, while other predators include hawks, buzzards, kites, and goshawks.

Population in Kenya

It is common in Kenya.

Range & Habitat

Speke’s weavers are found in some parts of eastern Africa.

Speke’s weavers depend on available water sources and can be found in savannas, bush, farmland, and towns in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. A common species, they are seen in some areas as crop pests.

Did you know?

Speke’s Weaver was named in honor of John Speke, an officer in the British Indian army who was the first European to see Lake Victoria.