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A Weaver’s Hierarchy: The Weaver Bird

A Weaver's Hierarchy The Weaver Bird

Also known as the weaver bird, the Ploceidae is a true expert in engineering and construction. This small bird is originally from South Africa. It is widely distributed throughout the southern Sahara and is also found in India and Southeast Asia, as well as in Botswana and Namibia.

When I first discovered this beautiful bird, I was very touched to experience once again the magic of nature in animals. Inspired by this great weaver I wanted to honor it by creating a pendant. Let’s learn more about the Weaver Bird.

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A Weaver’s Hierarchy: The Weaver Bird

This weaver bird has at least 57 known species, and each of them is different with distinctly individual characteristics. They all have their own style and strategy to weave their nest or hierarchy. In India, it is thought that this bird catches fireflies and sticks them on the inner walls of its nests to illuminate and warm them during the night.

The scientific name of the species Amblyospiza albifrons is Ploceidae. It measures between 15 and 17 centimeters long and weighs between 26 and 30 grams. They are known to be the most common birds on the planet. The adult female has a yellow head, the chest is olive green and the lower belly is pale yellow shaded with brown eyes. The male has a yellow head, as well as its lower part and its orange face, it has very strong colors with ochre yellow and black plumage.

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Characteristics of the Weaver Bird

These birds are known as weavers because of the peculiar shape of their nests and the way they build them. They use herbs, sticks, leaves, branches, feathers, and other plant materials that weave in a complex way in the shape of balls or baskets or in a tubular way with access from the bottom.

MANY TIMES MOST OF THE ELEMENTS WITH WHICH THESE BIRDS BUILD THEIR NEST LOOKS LIKE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS HANGING FROM NATURAL TREES ALL OVER THE YEAR.

 

The shape of each nest may vary depending on the species of bird that has woven these structure.

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The nests have different sizes and shapes depending on the species that has woven them, the materials that have been used in its elaboration and the technique used to weave them.

SOME SPECIES WEAVE NESTS WITH VERY FINE FINISHES, ALTHOUGH OTHERS WEAVE NESTS STUCK RANDOMLY IN THEIR COLONIES, WHICH CONTAIN SEVERAL NESTS OR SPHERICAL HIERARCHIES WITHIN THEM.

Most species weave nests or hierarchies with tight, downward entrances. Their nests or hierarchies make up complex systems of community housing.

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Lifestyle, reproduction, and feeding of the Weaver Bird

In general, these birds are polygamous, in other words, they find a partner, they mate and raise their babies, but then both the male and female seek for another partner to continue reproducing. Normally the female does not weave the nest or hierarchy, it is the male who does it.

USUALLY THE MALE WEAVER BIRD BUILDS SEVERAL NESTS OR HIERARCHIES PARTIALLY AND IT IS AFTER WOOING THE FEMALE AND FINDING A PARTNER THAT FINISHES THE NEST OR HIERARCHY, WITH ALL THE ELEMENTS SHE GETS IN THE ENVIRONMENT SHE INHABITS.

 

When the weaver bird wants the female to enter the nest for the first time, the male dances persistently around the building, with its feathers extended, he leans down and beats his wings over the back, making them sound. The incubation is exclusive to the female.

Occasionally these birds “steal” the geese feathers to soften and warm their nest. They build their nests near the water hanged from branches in order to isolate and protect their brood and to watch over them from being attacked by natural predators such as snakes and another less common but not less dangerous one.

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The female lays between 2 and 4 white eggs and heats them for 14 to 17 days. The males help feed the broods, and after about 20 days, the chicks leave the nest. They spend 18 days building their nest and makes about 500 trips to find materials for the nest and collects about 3500 branches.

EACH NEST OR HIERARCHY BUILT IS DIFFERENT.

It is repaired if necessary, with other colors. It is the female who tries it if she likes it she stays there with her babies, but if she doesn’t like it she tears the nest and moves the male away and he has to start again to make the nest from the beginning.

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The nests are carefully woven

The nest is carefully woven with strips of leaves and herbs. They use their beaks and legs to weave them, they hold the ends of the fibers against a branch with their legs, and at the same time they tie a knot so that it does not come loose, while the other end is held with the beak, so they weave the entrance of the nest in circles. They continue weaving with other fibers and calculate the optimum tension because if the fibers are too loose, the nest collapses.

As they advance, they estimate where the nest should be extended, where it should be curved, where it should be weaved thicker, and so on, until they finish the entry and then they weave the walls from top to bottom and hang from the nest and from inside to outside they cross the fibers with the beak until they finish. 

Usually its entrance is downwards from a cane or branch. Their nests can be up to five meters wide or more, so these nesting colonies are the largest known structures built by a bird. These nests or hierarchies are capable of sheltering dozens of families, where the weavers protect themselves from the variation of external temperatures. Their nests are so well built and structured that they can remain intact for up to 100 years.

 

Their diet is based on seeds, grains, and some small insects. Their natural habitat is found in meadows, agricultural habitat and near rivers. They agglomerate in colonies in trees such as willows, eucalyptus, palms, etc.

Under normal conditions, weavers can breed up to four clutches per reproductive cycle. The elders assist in the care of the younger siblings in the community and even chicks outside their family. The weavers are very sociable; they love to live in the community so in some cases they have recorded the production of nine clutches in a single season by a couple.

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Peruvian gold knitted pendant inspired by the weaver bird

In honor of the intelligence and industriousness of this great builder, I made this pendant. It is a small nest weave with gold filled wire, the crochet weave is in Peruvian point.

I hope you like my little tribute to this great weaver. Here I leave you the pictures of my pendant finished.

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