Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for
Date of this Version
While human tinkering with the zoogeographical distribution of lower animals sometimes pays dividends, more often it opens up Pandora's box. Such is the case of the Weaver Finch family. This group of birds is characterized by its colonial habits, granivorous appetite which often counters man's best interests, and elaborate nest structures. The House Sparrow (passer domesticus) is a notable exception of the latter trait as its nests look like a Picasso interpretation of an Afro wig. Weaver Finches originated in Africa. Here they are found in their most numerous forms. The Quelea quelea in flocks of several million compete seriously with human food supplies. They are the prime avian pests on that continent. Despite this background, some Weaver Finches have been intentionally transplanted to other parts of the world including the Caribbean Islands by thoughtless humans (Bond, 1971; Wetmore and Swales, 1931). The House Sparrow is found on Grand Bahama, Cuba and Jamaica; the Hooded Weaver Finch (spermestes cucullatus) and the Orange-cheeked Weaver Finch (Estrilda melpoda) are confined to Puerto Rico; and the Village Weaver (Textor [ploceus]cucullatus): is found only on the island of Hispaniola. This paper considers the problem of the latter species.