Baya Weaver, acacia and pennisetum grass

on 18th August 2009

Seow Boon Eu of Penang, Malaysia was observing Baya Weavers (Ploceus philippinus) constructing their elaborate nests attached to the acacia tree (Acacia auriculiformis) (below left).

Acacia trees originate from tropical Australia and New Guinea, introduced as roadside trees. These trees find conditions so suitable that they spread far and wide, growing in a wide range of soil types, including degraded soils. The tree produces curled pods that split on ripening to release black seeds dangling on curled orange stalks (below).

Birds love the orange stalks, gobbling them together with the seeds. The stalks may be digested but the seeds definitely pass out some distance away. In this way birds help spread the acacia far and wide. In many parts of Southeast Asia, this tree has become naturalised.

It is not known whether these weavers eat acacia seeds. But they definitely take grass seeds, especially those of feathery pennisetum (Pennisetum polystachion) and elephant grass or napier grass (P. purpureum) (above right). In addition, the leaves of these grasses provide nesting materials for their nests (above centre).

This post is courtesy of Seow Boon Eu of Bonyou.

Image of acacia fruits by YC, all others by Boon Eu.

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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