Sex and the Birds: 9. Polygyny and Baya Weavers

on 16th December 2013

The Baya Weavers (Ploceus philippinus) nest in colonies where their retort-shaped nests hang from the ends of branches. This provides limited security from predators, as invariably the nests will be shaken with any intrusion. Many nests are built near existing bees, wasps and hornet nests LINK 1 and LINK 2.

The male builds more than one nest (above, below left). Before a nest is completed, he courts the female. The female will inspect the semi-completed nest usually at the helmet stage LINK, enters it and tugs at the nesting material (below). If she is satisfied with the nest the male will complete it. There have been reports that if she is not satisfied with the construction, she will pull the nest down in a frenzy.

Once the female settles in the nest she will lay her eggs. She alone will incubate them and brood the chicks. She will leave the nest to forage for food, leaving the chicks alone. As the hanging nest is enclosed with the entrance pointing downwards, the chicks are relatively safe from predation as opposed to chicks in exposed nests. All this time the male will be busy enticing females to his other nests that may number up to three.

The mating system here is the polygynous form of polygamy – the male mates with more than one females while the females mate with only one male LINK. Although the females care for the chicks, the male may occasionally helps in feeding.

Credit: YC Wee (text), James Wong (images).

Craig, A. J. F. K., 2010. In: del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott & D. A. Christie (eds.). Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 15. Weavers to New World Warblers. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 74-197.

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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