; class Aves, order Passeriformes)
A family of small, stocky birds that have short, stout bills. The weavers (e.g. Ploceus, of which there are about 56 species, many kept as cage birds) are mainly black with yellow, red, or brown. Sparrows are mainly brown. Some members of the genus Euplectes (bishops and whydahs) have long tails. Many ploceids are gregarious, inhabit forest, grassland, desert, urban areas, and cultivated land, and feed on seeds and insects. Many build elaborate woven nests, suspended from trees, with a long entrance tunnel. Others build untidy nests in trees, grass, and buildings. Some are parasitic and most are colonial. Passer domesticus (house sparrow), one of 18 species in its genus, is particularly associated with humans. Rock sparrows (five species of Petronia) inhabit open, rocky country, bush, and forest. There are 17–19 genera, comprising 145 species, many kept as cage birds (e.g. Euplectes), found in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia, and the Pacific islands. Quelea quelea (red-billed quelea) is the most numerous bird in the world, numbering thousands of millions.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.