Thursday, 1 May 2014

Engineers with no degrees - The Weaver Birds

The Weaver Birds are undoubtedly ingenuous architects and engineering builders of their own nests. In South East Asia, the Baya Weavers (Ploceus Philippinus) build their nests in colonies of 20-30, preferring coconut palms or low trees. The nest is expertly weaved from long thin strands of leaf blades that can come from the Guinea grass, strips of palm fronds or other tough fibres. A completed nest looks like an upside down flask with a downward pointing entrance chute. Within the portion is the nesting area.

The nest has been described as: A stocking hung by the toe, the heel enlarged to receive the eggs, while the entrance and exit are made through the leg.
The nest hangs on a long thin structure (up to a meter long) tightly woven with grass leaves, swinging freely with the wind. This ensures that it is not easily accessible to potential predators. Thus they are attached to the terminal of palm fronds or from the end of branches. The birds recycle old nests, repairing any damage before reusing them. This can be easily detected by the colour of the fresh and dried grass blades.

The male Baya Weaver bird builds the nest halfway after which he tries to seduce females by his courtship displays. If she is interested she will examine the uncompleted nest. after which he will complete building it, or both will work together.

How you doing there, mate?

While building it half way this male African masked weaver awaits 
potential partner to come  for visit. Looks like it's using the
incomplete project as a swing to relax.  
See? It's taking shape!
The female watches as the male bird works
relentlessly to complete their love nest.
Sometimes she takes pity on her partner,
she chips in to help too.

South East Asian Baya Weaver bird nests.
This masked weaver birds colony is found in Zambia, Africa.

Many thanks to Alex Chin for sharing.
Alan CY Kok

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