Thursday, January 24, 2008

Weaver birds, the master home builders

Remember the old song ‘mi casa, su casa ... welcome to my hacienda’? That’s what the male weaver birds do. They build beautiful nests to attract the females during the mating season. The youngsters are not so adept at it but develop the skills as they become older. Logically this means that the more mature ones get better mates!

The nests are intricately woven. That is the accepted word for these avian homes though a great deal of stitching too is involved. The building materials come from locally available vegetation – grass, leaf fibers, and sometimes fine twigs. The shapes and designs differ. Some may be single accommodation (the male sits out on a branch in such cases), others, double.

In the following photos taken by me at Olavipe, the one at the top is single and the other duplex:

These nests of weaver birds are built with many safeguards against predators and the elements. They are always suspended, usually on branches or trees that overhang water bodies. In my place in coastal Kerala weaver bird colonies (they like to flock together) are normally found on fronds of coconut palms. The entrance to the nest is at the bottom.

There are over a hundred species of weaver birds, mainly in Africa, Asia and Australia. They are small, varying in size from 4.5 to 7 inches. These cute little birds are basically seed eaters. Some feed on insects as well.

The weaver birds are related to finches


The photo of the bird on top right hand corner is Public Domain, from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the others for enlarged view.

Also see:

Birds: Photos & Poetry


Anonymous said...
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Sunita said...

Ummm.... I think Wikipedia has goofed. If I'm not mistaken that's a picture of a male sparrow, not a weaver bird.
Funny how a weaver bird would suddenly decide that a regular nest just wouldnt do but that its 'duplex' time.
Maybe its going to be a Joint family? Or he's an Expat with pots of grains to show off ?

Abraham Tharakan said...

sunita thank you for pointing out the mistake. The fault is mine. Both birds belong to the same family but have different nest pattern.
The error is regretted.