The Afrikaans name for the Dark-backed Weaver is Bosmusikant – “Bush musician” – and a most descriptive moniker that is given its melodious whistling tune, often delivered in duet. This bird has an extremely patchy distribution over the southern half of Africa. Locally they’re found in evergreen forests and dense riverine woodland along our coastline and a bit further inland from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape through Kwazulu-Natal to the border with Mozambique.
Dark-backed Weavers are omnivores, feeding on invertebrates, fruit, flowers and nectar. While they often associate in mixed flocks with other insectivorous birds they never seem to mix with other kinds of weavers. They form permanent, territorial pairs that breed in spring and summer. Weaving the nest at the tip of a thin, bare branch, using vines, creepers and slender leaves, is mostly performed by the male but sometimes the female will help. The clutch of 2-4 eggs are incubated for a little longer than 2 weeks, with the chicks fledging when they’re about 3 weeks old but remaining with their parents for almost two months after leaving the nest. Adults weigh 35g and measure 15cm in length.