Sophisticated architecture of Baya Weaver’s nest

on 11th June 2008

“Round and oval objects are hanging on the branches of a mangrove tree, swinging slightly when the wind blows (above). These are the nests of the Baya Weavers (Ploceus philippinus) (below top). There are more than ten of them, hanging from the branches of a tree in Sempadan swamp along Bogowonto river in the coastal village of Pagak Purworejo, Indonesia. This is a favourite nesting area of these birds.


“The nest architecture is complicated. Each nest is constructed from grass leaves, plaited in a very complex way.

“The nest is as big as a soccer ball, oval, stretched with a hallway and an entrance with a 10 cm diameter opening (left bottom). This entrance is on the underside of the nest with less dense plaited grass. The upperside of the nest is spherical and the grass plaited is thick and dense.

“Other nests seem to have different shapes – rounded with two openings beneath. Nest construction here seems to be incomplete, probably the male Baya Weaver is having a rest or cannot find enough nest materials? Or probably the male does not want to continue building his pretty house for the female, because she is not pleased with the house he built and has to be abandoned by the architect.

“It is not only humans that have special courtship behaviour. Baya birds, in order to attract a female, needs to pay a “bride price” or a guarantee of a home to raise the young. The male has to build a “castle” for the female before the copulation is allowed.

“Not just weavers but many other birds that live in the tropics such as Indonesia, have to build a nest before copulation.

“The many male birds can be seen competing with one another to collect materials and construct the nest. They are all busy arranging the grass leaves piece by piece, plaiting them carefully to slowly construct the nest before presenting to the female for approval.

“The bird that builds the most “beautiful and comfortable” nest will win a female for the current breeding season.”

Text by Oka Dwi P., images by Swiss Winasis.
This post was received courtesy of Sunaring Kurniandaru, Kutilang Indonesia Foundation, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

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

5 Responses

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  2. Excellent observations done on the Baya Weavers nesting habits.Most of the higher life forms have a courtship behavior.Birds like Bower birds, Weavers etc. have to build a nest to entyce the female and the choice of a mate is exclusively left to the females.
    On the contrary some species of males like the Sunbirds, do not take any role, other than just being perched close, to alert the nest building female, of any intrusion.In Pigeons both the parents share all domestic chores.Magpie Robin males build the nest and get it approved by a female, but feeding the clutch is pre-dominatly done by the female. The male just perched as a sentinel and alerting her.
    It is very interesting to study the parenting behavior of birds.

  3. Well itz a good thing you found about baya weaver…. which helped me in the beginning stage of my project about the structural, geometrical and understanding the form of weavers nest…. well you do check out the weaving pattern of this particular birds nest its awesome I am sure you’ll be amazed … and will surely find the difference between the beak and the finger….

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