Fascinating Birds: The Most Skilled Nest Builder

Even with birds, “Practice makes perfect.” Learn and marvel how the Southern Masked Weaver, considered by scientists as the most skilled nest builder, do the trick!

Nature dictates that birds built nests as temporary refuge for eggs and young chicks. Many species just simply make one to meet this need. However, there is a bird species that build their nests in a highly-designed ones. Read on and marvel how the Southern mask-weaver built nests.

Southern Masked-Weaver

The Southern Masked Weaver or African Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus) is a species of bird that belongs to the family Ploceidae. This fascinating bird is widespread throughout southern Africa inhabiting open woodland, grassland, savannas, inland wetlands. It also frequents urban gardens as well as parks.

The Southern Masked-Weaver measures about 11-14.5 cm (4.3 – 5.7 inches) long and weighs around 37 grams. It has an orange eyes, short, conical bill, black colored throat, and pinkish brown legs. The male plumage and colors are slightly different to that of the female bird. Adult breeding males sport red eyes; bright yellow head; black face, throat and beak; and a plain yellowish-green back while adult females have brown eyes, pinkish-brown bill, brown eyes, yellowish throat, and grayish belly.

The Southern Masked Weaver is normally seen singly, or pairs, or in flocks. Just like other weavers, this fascinating bird creates harsh buzzes and chattering calls. It also makes a sharp alarm note. It forages for food on the ground, feeding mostly on insects including ants, bees, butterflies, and locusts. It also eats seeds and nectar.

The breeding season usually stretches from September through January. Males are bigamous and will have up to 5 females per breeding season. These breeding males will create a succession of nests, usually numbering 25 nests per season. The male builds its nest high up in the tree canopy or on the ground woven from figs, straw and leaves. The female will adorn the interior of a chosen nest with soft grass and feathers while the male put on the entrance tunnel.

A female bird will lay between 1-6 blue-colored eggs, which she will single-handedly incubate for about 12-14 days. Chicks will content themselves on a diet of soft insect larvae and grasshoppers. For about 16-17 days, chicks will stay on the nest and will leave afterwards.

How do a breeding male makes the nest? From grass leaves, green strips of reeds, or palm blades, he will diligently weaves a well-designed nest. On average, it will take about 9 to 14 hours to complete one. Once completed, an imposing large entrance tunnel graced a kidney-shaped structure. So creative are these birds, that the nests rest on thin branches of freestanding trees, often over water to discourage predators.

Why do the Southern Masked Weaver birds is considered the most skilled nest builder? If we hold to long-established fact that nest-building is something that birds know how to do from birth, then we would expect all birds to build their nests in the same way each time. But not in the case of the Southern Masked Weaver! Based on studies done in Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews Universities and has been published in the Behavioral Processes journal, scientists say that these fascinating birds use experience to build better nests. The research noted that they displayed strong variations in their nest building, showing a skill they actually ‘learn’ and get better at. Experience takes a clear role in building highly complex nests. ‘Even for birds, practice makes perfect.’

43 thoughts on “Fascinating Birds: The Most Skilled Nest Builder

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks for your comment! I did my best to find interesting info about Southern Masked Weavers.

  1. Danessa Foo

    Such impressive and neat "artwork". The birds are truly amazing artists, constructing their nests with such precision and care.

  2. Karen

    From the name itself, Southern Masked Weaver is really a good weaver of nest. God really is amazing!

  3. lee rosales

    Omg!! Im astonished with that little creature! Amazing that it can build a nest like that. Feels like im watching it in national geographic or something

  4. Louise Banta

    Animals never fail to amuse me with the way they do things; with the way they live. I haven't seen a bird build their nest before and this one's very interesting and informative.

  5. Raymond Vasquez

    I've once again been informed. And I am continually in awe of these creatures. Lovely bird! I'd love to see them in person, and well witness its fascinating, natural flight.

  6. Fred Hawson

    That is really fascinating to watch. Mother Nature is so amazing. I love nature documentaries like this. Shows us things we probably will never see in real life.

  7. Hannah Green

    Wow some of these images are stunning my dad would love to read this. I knew even though that birds would have to practice the skill of nest build, really interesting. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  8. Gillian Ong

    I always loved looking at birds especially small ones ! but they're so smart! the next looks extremely intricate.. delicate.. too

  9. Fatemah Sajwani

    wow this is the beauty of life! I have always been fascinated by the techniques that the birds use for making their nests.

  10. Love Mindanao

    that is one skilled bird.. truly gifted. it would take me years to realize the design of their nest .

  11. Anne V

    Oh my, now that is what I call a nest! It's a work of art, can't believe a small bird made it! It's very skilled and precise!

  12. Tiffany Yong W.T.

    The nest is beautiful! But it will slowly brown when the green grass dries up right? Love the resourcefulness of the bird~

  13. Ling Tan

    Wow I can see why it's the most skilled nest builder – the details of the nest it built is quite intricate!

  14. Nicol

    oh my. i would never had expected the outcome to be like that! so clever and really interesting

  15. Kat Centeno

    Those nests are well-constructed! It was so fascinating to see them work on their nests!

  16. yvonnembertoldo

    Wow that bird really is very skilled. I can't even weave such a nest but it can build one that looks very good.

  17. John Benliro

    I'm not sure if the bird I saw a few months back at the park was the same or perhaps related to this Southern Masked Weaver bird. First, I am not from Africa. Secondly, I saw the bird from afar. However, the way they make their nests is similar if not the same.

  18. Lorenzo Caballes Jr

    Birds are one of my favorite animals and learning these loads of information made me even more love them. This is pretty amazing and the camera that captured all of these photos are just beyond my grasp.

  19. Esme Sy

    You'd think that they would just throw in different straws or something to make a nest out of and then you read something like this. Just goes to show that we still have a lot to learn about our co-inhabitants on Earth.

  20. fallenrhainnes

    This is what you call an innate talent and amazing skill for a bird to build like that is something I can ponder on the magnificent creation.

  21. Mobile App Developers Delhi

    Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share

  22. Ria C

    Wow! That's pretty impressive! For a bird, it is quite the skilled artisan building it's own nest from leaves and hay! 🙂

  23. cheerful

    wow, this is awesome…ang galing naman nyan at very creative in making their nest! 🙂 i learned something new again, galing talaga…:)

  24. lencilicious

    During winter here, I can see how great these creations because I can see from leafless tree the beautiful nests they made there.

    Si Tweety bird lang ata ang hindi marunong gumawa ng nest e.

  25. riz

    first time i saw such beautiful nests photos. i usually saw bird's nests when they've turned brown na 🙂

  26. Rcel

    Weeeee! Ang cute ng mga birdies! Just by looking at the photos making the nest, I can see so much details and orders in birds. God is so wise!

  27. Rovie Aguis

    Another learning day for me. I am fascinated with the Southern masked-weaver because of his characteristics and qualities despite his size.

  28. betchai

    oh wow, what an intelligent bird to improve on their nesting skills through experience, also, a very beautiful bird that i have not seen yet, another wealth of information for us Donald.

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