Indian Silverbills reusing Baya Weaver nests

on 25th September 2008

From India comes a note from Ashwini Vaidya, on the preference of the Indian Silverbill (Lonchura malabarica) for old weaver nests.

“I have been following BESG for a while and find it really interesting. Sending my picture of Indian Silverbills occupying a Baya Weaver’s nest. They were abandoned, half completed nests and this is the second time I have seen Silverbills occupying nests made by weavers. The picture was taken in Hyderabad, India.“


Earlier in January 2007, Ashwini wrote “I was at Manjira WLS, Sangareddy on Sunday. We observed a curious thing there: a silverbill with a feather in its beak was perched on a tree that had several weaver bird nests. It was followed by a female(?) silverbill and both of them surveyed us standing close by. Then the bird with the feather fluttered into the weaver bird nest – it was one of those ‘two-storey’ nests and stayed there for a while. The other bird remained outside and kept uttering low chirp sounds. Then the first flew out, minus the feather. Looks like the silverbills were trying to use the weaver bird’s nest for themselves!”

Indian Silverbill is a small to medium-sized munia of the open country, scrub, cultivated areas and any areas associated with human dwellings. It is found throughout the Indian subcontinent and west to the Middle East.

Its nest is a somewhat irregular to ovoid sphere made of grass with an entrance at one end. It is built in bushes and trees up to 3 m above ground. According to Restall (1996) the Indian Silverbell also favours old weaver nests, like those of Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus) and Streaked Weaver (Ploceus manyar).

Restall, R. (1996). Munias and mannikins. East Sussex: Pica Press.

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.

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