An abandoned tailorbird nest was found by Melinda Chan’s friend among the bushy simpoh air (Dillenia suffruticosa). The large leaf of the plant was folded and the edge neatly stitched together using spider webs that were threaded through holes made for the purpose. Within the resulting pouch was the oval nest, 12 cm long, 6.5 cm at the upper broader end and 4.5 cm at the narrower end. The nest opening was 5 x 4.5 cm and 6 cm deep.
Nesting materials consisted of dried grasses, plant fibres and other plant materials. The white winged seeds of African tulip (Spathodea campanulata) figured prominently among the brown materials.
Inside the nest were two un-hatched eggs. The eggs were empty and had holes on the shell. A slug was seen inside the nest feasting on the damaged eggs.
Note: When smaller leaves are used to build the nest, more than one leaf may be involved. A commonly used material to line the nest is the fibres of the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra). These nests are usually built less than a metre from the ground. The stitched part of the leaf is usually facing downwards such that the nest is kept dry from the rain.
Input and images by Meng and Melinda Chan (except bottom image by YC Wee).