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a family of birds of the order Passeriformes. The body length is 7.6–19 cm, but a paradise weaver with a very long tail may measure as much as 64 cm in length. The bill is short, thick, and sometimes massive. The plumage is grayish or brownish, or it may be bright, for example, red, blue, or yellow. The family’s 313 species are distributed mainly in the tropics of Africa, Asia, and Australia, although sparrows (Passer) have settled far north in human settlements, and certain species have been imported to a number of countries, such as those of North America. The Ploceidae are predominantly settled birds. They often live in colonies, building spherical or hanging communal nests that are sometimes huge; some nest in burrows, under rocks, or on buildings. They feed mainly on seeds. In several countries the Ploceidae are severe pests of grain plantings. The USSR has representatives of five genera: Passer (seven species), Petronia, Pyrgilauda (two species), Carpospiza, and Montifringill.