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How to build a nest fit for a lady

Thu 21 Feb 2019

At Limpopo-Lipadi we have numerous trees that look like somebody hung dozens and dozens of lampions for decoration. But if you move closer, you see that those trees are home to the gregarious and sedentary weaverbirds with their beautiful woven ‘basket’ nests. You can just simply sit down and watch from your game drive vehicle how the birds fly on and off with grass and leaves, and how they construct their gravity and wind defying nests, dangling on the branches of trees, reeds or even barbed wire.

Summertime is the time of year for male southern masked weaverbirds to show off their nest-building skills. Starting with what looks like a circus trapeze they laboriously weave grasses and leaves into a kidney-shaped nest with the entrance on the bottom. With their intricately woven nests, they woo female weavers to inspect the nest. If the female is impressed by the male’s skills, she accepts the nest and the male adds a short entrance to finish the construction. The decoration is left to the female; she lines the nest with grass, leaves and feathers, ready to receive the eggs. And from there a new generation of weaverbirds will leave the nest to start anew in the next summer.