In the following we briefly analyze and compare voice of the different races of Baglafecht Weaver (Ploceus baglafecht). We also try to quantify the extent of any vocal differences using the criteria proposed by Tobias et al. (2010), as a support for taxonomic review. We have made use of sound recordings available on-line from Xeno Canto (XC) and Macaulay Library (ML).
Most available recordings are of races baglafecht and reichenowi. There are however also a few recordings of races stulhmanni and sharpii. We will therefore compare these 4 races (illustrated with multiple sonograms in the pdf version of this note):
baglafecht: Song seemingly a combination of very high-pitched glissando and sizzling notes and chatters of repeated staccato notes, mixed with the typical call notes. Call: commonest call a buzzy explosive "speeh!".
reichenowi: Song seemingly a combination of high-pitched notes and chatters of repeated staccato notes, mixed with the typical call notes. Call: commonest call a buzzy rising "zweeh".
stuhlmanni: Song. Call a buzzy "zweeh".
sharpii: Song. Call includes a buzzy "zweeh".
It would seem that race baglafecht is most easily recognized by its distinctive call notes, which seemingly are also part of the song (or are at least given simultaneously by another bird). In contrast, the 3 other races share an upslurred buzzy call note, which again is seemingly part of the song (or are at least given simultaneously by another bird). Other differences in the song are less clear. All have a variety of whistled notes reaching up to 10kHz. reichenowi and sharpii apparently often using sharply downslurred pure whistles. More recordings would be needed to discover any consistent differences.
Based on available recordings, baglafecht thus is the only one clearly standing apart vocally, with a very sharp buzzy overslurred call note. (Scoring could be based on the location of the maximum frequency (reflecting overslurred vs. upslurred), which would result in a score of about 3).
This note was finalized on 28th April 2016, using sound recordings available on-line at that moment. We would like to thank in particular the sound recordists who placed their recordings for this species on XC and ML: Peter Boesman, James Bradley, Jennifer Home, Peter Kaestner, Guido Keijl, Linda Macaulay, Marian McChesney, David Moyer, Rory Nefdt, Myles North, Ted Parker, Andrew Spencer and Martin St-Michel.
Tobias, J.A., Seddon, N., Spottiswoode, C.N., Pilgrim, J.D., Fishpool, L.D.C. & Collar, N.J. (2010). Quantitative criteria for species delimitation. Ibis 152(4): 724–746.
More Information: on345_baglafecht_weaver.pdf