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Baya Weaver

Baya Weaver
Photo Information
Copyright: Ang Hwee Yong (Meerkat) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 20 W: 0 N: 896] (5258)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-04-30
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D70, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR, Nikon 77mm Neutral Color
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-05-04 9:16
Viewed: 5088
Points: 9
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Baya Weaver
Ploceus philippinus

Like the munias they are closely related to, Baya Weavers eat mainly grass seeds. They too have large conical beaks to deal with their food. They forage in flocks, in grass as well as on the ground. The flock flies in close formation, often performing complicated manouvres.

Breeding: These dull looking birds have a most interesting breeding season (December-March). At this time, the males put on a brighter costume and they start to build their amazing nests.

Baya Weavers nest in colonies of up to 20-30, usually in trees near freshwater and open ground. In Singapore, they appear to prefer coconut palms. Elsewhere, they may nest in an isolated low tree. They have been known to nest in trees with a hornet's nest or with the nests of fiercely biting Red Ants.

The Baya Weaver's nest is an architectural feat. It hangs from a palm frond or branch and looks like an upside down flask. The general features are a central nesting area with a long tube that leads to a side entrance. This tube makes it difficult even for snakes to enter the nest. Although they look precarious, most nests are very well attached and are impossible to remove without almost destroying the nest. The nests last well through the 3-month breeding season, sometimes even up to a year. After the breeding season, other small birds may roost in the abandoned nests. The nests are made entirely out of strips of grass which the birds collect by cutting a notch in a tall grass, then stripping off a 30-60cm length.

Cross-section of nest
from Tweedie

completed nest of baya weaver (seeking permission to use)
No stalks or entire grass blades are used. The birds then use their strong beaks to weave and knot the strips of grass. A newly-made nest is green with fresh grass and turns brown as the grass dries. A bird may make up to 500 trips to complete a nest. Madoc reports that a "male" nest he examined comprised 3,437 strips of grass 4-50 cm long.

The males are promiscuous and try to attract females by building several nests halfway. These half-built "male" nests look like motorcycle helmets complete with chin strap! Lumps of dry clay may be inserted around the rim to stabilise the nest in strong winds. The male performs displays and songs on these half-built nests to attract a mate. This type of nest is also called a "cock-swing"!

A female bird first inspects the male's handiwork of a nest before signalling her approval to him. Once a female chooses to mate with him, he might finish the nest. But often, the female completes the nest. When the female lays and is preoccupied with incubating the eggs, the male abandons her and immediately uses his other half-finished nests to woo a new female. Most males mate with two females, but sometimes three. The males defend his nests from other males. Meanwhile, the female is left to incubate and raise the brood on her own. 3-4 white eggs are laid and the nestlings are fed insects.

TAZ, jeanpaul has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
Nestswinterpalace 1 12-13 08:05
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Meerkat,

Great shot of this philippinus in action , hope to c more of this guy with feed and chicks in your coming pics... Wish u luck on that and TFS


  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2006-05-04 13:35]

What a nice and interesting builder of nest that you have well captured ! Composition, colors, details and sharpness are good ! I also appreciate the complementary note... Congratulations Meerkat and thanks for sharing.

  • Good 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-05-04 21:50]

A really interesting POV of this weaver, and a great moment caught. A pity the top of the picture is OE. But... we cannot have everything, when we are trying to take photos of wild animals. : )
TFS. : )

Hello Meerkat
Cette prise de vue est vraiment belle.
C'est un véritable plaisir que de voir ces belles couleurs ainsi que la belle composition .
merci et a la prochaine ....JP

Hi Ang,

a fine documentary of nest building well supported by educational notes.



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