When we consider different houses, they have different architectural themes and dimensions to meet the different needs of their residents. It is also applicable to bird nests. Different birds build different types of nests that fulfill their different needs. No matter what kind of materials and styles birds use, the main purpose of building a nest is to protect eggs and hatchlings. Having a sound knowledge of different bird nests will be a clue for you to do proper bird identification and to appreciate their engineering technologies. So from this article, I’m going to bring you some important factors about several amazing bird nest types in the world.
- 1. The Sociable Weaver
Most of the birds creates single nests. But few species build apartment complexes. The Sociable Weaver is one of them. It is a South African bird that builds the largest communal nests in the bird world. The biggest nest structures provide shelter for about a hundred breeding pairs. After the breeding season of Sociable Weavers, those nests provide refuge for other bird species like falcons, finches, and lovebirds.
These nests are built as semi-permanent structures. Most of the time these nests are used by several generations for three to four decades. Because of the blazing African sun, the sociable weavers have used to use advanced insulation systems and ventilation to keep cool in the interior of the nest. Even though sociable weavers use advanced technologies, their nests are not predator-proof. Most of the time three-quarters of sociable weaver eggs are eaten by predators like snakes before they hatch.
2. The Montezuma Oropendola
If you see it from a distance, the nests of Montezuma oropendola look like some low-hanging fruits. Montezuma oropendolas use coastal trees to build their habitats during the breeding season. Such tree contains about 30 to 40 nests. Sometimes there are large specimens that host more than a hundred. Female birds build these nests using a different kinds of twigs and sticks. But there is only one larger male for a tree. He mates with each female in turns. Then female birds lay two eggs at a time. Those eggs hatch after about 15 days and then baby birds come from those eggs and leave the nest after 15 days.
3. The African Jacana
Did you ever think what would it be like when a frog crossed with a bird? Well, the result will be something like this African Jacana. It is an animal that is more advanced than lily pads. In the breeding season, male African jacanas build two or three floating nests on the water. Then female bird lays four eggs near or on one of those nests. It can be rolled if those eggs are not properly weighted on the nest. And also those nests can be pushed during the floods for their safety. There is another unusual factor about these African Jacanas. In this species, the male bird is the one who incubates the eggs. The female birds are free to roar, mate with other male birds, and to defend their nests from other aggressive female birds. And also these male birds provide huge parental care for the babies when the eggs hatch.
4. The Edible-Nest Swiftlet
Have you ever heard about the bird’s nest soup? Sometimes you may think that this name refers to the appearance of that food. But it is not. It refers to the actual ingredients of that soup! It actually consists of nests built by edible-nest swiftlet in Southeast Asia. These small birds construct their nests with layers of hardened salvia. Those nests are white and translucent and take several months to complete the build.
Edible-nest swiftlets build their shallow cup-shaped nests attached to cliff faces and rocks of caves. These nests are rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. So they consist of amazing health benefits. Because of that, the bird’s nest soup has become one of the most expensive animal products which are consumed by humans. Usually, the average selling price of a nest is about 2000 Euros.
5. Red Ovenbird
The red ovenbird is the national bird of Argentina. It is a bird that can be found throughout South America. As mentioned in their names, they build nests that look like clay ovens. They are built with mud and these birds construct dome-shaped nests within a little time as five days. But they take few months to complete several nests on top of each other.
Usually, red ovenbirds build their nests on tall structures such as trees, telephone poles, or fence posts. Sometimes they use their old nests over and over or sometimes they build new nests on the top of old nests.
6. European Bee-eater
As mentioned in the name European Bee-eater can be mainly found in southern Europe. Other than that we can find them in some parts of Western Asia and North Africa. Biologists tried to breed these bee-eaters in the UK about five times. The last attempt was in2015 in Cambria.
The specialty of their nests is, that they use a river embankment to build nests. They dig horizontal cavities in the sand using their bills. Then they burrow in sand with their feet creating tunnels that are usually long up to a meter. Then female birds lay around seven eggs at a time in those tunnels.
Another interesting fact about these birds is, that they are one of the European bird species that have helpers to build nests. Both female and male birds excavate tunnels together. Other than that brothers of the breeding male bird or sons of the breeding pair helps them to do excavations and feed the brood.
We can find Gila Woodpeckers across Western Mexico and Southwest America, specially in the Sonoran Desert. As they live in desert areas, they use mesquite trees and saguaro cacti trees to build their nests. These woodpeckers excavate holes between the ribs of those trees by grilling the skin of the cactus. Then they dig downwards to enhance the space of their nests.
When they dig, the cactus tree secrets a sap. Over time it becomes a hard shell and it protects the nest of the Gila Woodpecker while protecting the cactus from losing moisture. These shells are usually known as “boots”. Native Americans used these “boots” to carry water. But by now it is prohibited to collect those “boots” from the cactuses in Arizona.
Is it necessary to build a bird nest in a tree? Most people think so. Did you know that there are birds who build nests on the ground? The Malleefowl is such a bird who builds large nests on the ground. Some of those nests have more than 150 feet in circumstance and heights up to two feet. The male Malleefowl bird digs a hole in the ground and creates a layer in it with organic stuff such as leaves and sticks.
When a male completes the nest, the female bird deposits her eggs inside the nest and those parents add a layer of sand over the eggs for insulation. When the organic stuff below the eggs decays, its heat helps to incubate the eggs. After the hatching, baby malleefowls dig the mud over them and find their way out. Usually, it will take more than 15 hours!
9. The Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle, also known as Sea Eagle is usually found in North America. And also it is the national bird and the animal of the United States of America. They have also added this bird to their seal. In the late 20th century, it was at the edge of extinction. But the number of their population has increased and by now the bald eagle has been removed from the list of threatened and endangered species.
The specialty of this bird is, that they are the ones who build the largest bird nests in the world. The largest nest of the Bald Eagle was found in 1963 at St Petersburg in Florida. Its weight was almost 2 tonnes and it was measured at 2.9m in width and 6m in depth.
When building the nest both male and female birds work together and they build the nest in a tall tree with interwoven sticks, grass, moss, feathers, and stalks. Usually, it will take about three months to completely build a nest. If the pair become successful in breeding, they will return to that same nest each year until they become successful in breeding.
10. The Bowerbird
The Bowerbird is a bird species with some unique and amazing characteristics. The male birds are interested in decorating their nests with colorful things they can find. Sometimes it may be a natural thing like rocks, feathers, leaves, and shells. Or it may be some man-made things like coins, plastic, rifle shells, or nails. Male birds spend most of their time on finding colorful things while female birds spend their time inspecting the completed nests. The male birds who have nests that consist with more attractive things will get chances to mate with females!