Baya Weavers

on 22nd May 2006

In Singapore, 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 (Panicum maximum), 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 swollen 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 metre long) tightly woven with grass leaves, swinging freely in the wind. This ensures that it is not easily accessible to potential predators, either from above or from neighbouring branches. Thus they are attached to the terminal of palm fronds or from the ends 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 bird builds the nest half way after which he tries to seduce the female by his courtship displays. If the female is interested, she will examine the uncompleted nest, after which he will complete building it or both will work together.

Sometimes the birds may bring in lumps of wet clay that are stuck to the interior wall of the nest.

Once the female lays her eggs, the male will move on and build another nest, leaving the female totally to herself to incubate the eggs and raise the chicks. However, there are reports that this may not always be so – males have been observed bringing insects for the nestlings.

Text by YC Wee and images by KC Tsang.

R. Subaraj has this to add: Have you heard the story about the female Baya Weaver snipping off the connecting cord if not satisfied after inspection, so the male has to start from scratch? Do you know if this is true for sure.

An excellent account of the nesting behaviour of Baya Weavers by Graeme Guy of the Nature Photographic Society (Singapore) can be viewed here.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

6 Responses

  1. I’ve seen this happen in documentaries of African species of weaver. However, I myself have not seen Baya weavers (strangely), so I cannot verify this claim.

  2. If I’m not wrong, there’s one such nest being built half-way outside my kitchen window.. on the mop I hanged outside!!

    The 2 birds which frequently fly back fits the description and definitely look like the ones in the pic.

    I’m happily watching the bird (should be the male one as mentioned) building the nest at the expanse of not being able to mop my floor.

    Fine.. I’ll just get a new mop..

  3. ooops.. sorry.. i cont reading ur blog n realise that it can be olive backed sunbird instead.. 😛

    i’ll try to find an oppotunity to capture its pic n hopefully u can help me to identify the bird?

    Good Lord.. I’m a poor identifier of birds n humans as well.. 🙁

  4. No problem Felicia. Whatever the bird, it is worth recording its behaviour and nest building activities. There is a lot we do not know about bird behaviour and prople like you can contribute to our knowledge.

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