To weave a home, to woo the girl, to start a family in the trees: This is the life of a male weaver bird—champion textile designers and indefatigable courters. 

Weaver Bird In Uda Walawe
Garden Design
Calimesa, CA

A Southern Masked Weaver (Ploceus velatus) beginning the entrance to a nest in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo by: Derek Keats.

There are over a hundred species of weaver birds, mostly in Africa & Asia, most of which build intricately woven nests. Home-building is done exclusively by males hoping to attract a female. Depending on the species and available building materials, nests may be constructed with plant fibers or twigs. In a pinch, the resourceful weaver bird will also use string or twine. Grasses are often preferred for their pliability and reliable abundance-one nest requires about a thousand strands.

Baya Weaver Bird
Garden Design
Calimesa, CA

A Baya weaver bird in Bangalore. Photo by: Shrikant Rao.

Weaver Bird In Uda Walawe
Garden Design
Calimesa, CA

A weaver bird in Uda Walawe, Sri Lanka. Photo by: Davida de la Harpe.

The nest begins with a single strand, knotted to a branch with beak and claw. After that, the technique is just like any other weaving pattern-the strands are threaded through others at opposing angles. From the first knot, an entrance is built. The aperture is important. It must be large enough for the birds to enter, but small enough to restrict predators from entering. The ideal design has a long tube that connects to a chamber, which will optimistically serve as the nursery.

Weaver Bird Begining The Nest
Garden Design
Calimesa, CA

A weaver bird beginning the nest, Gibbs Farm, Tanzania. Photo by: Cris Pierry.

Weaver Bird In Salem
Garden Design
Calimesa, CA

A weaver bird in Salem, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Photo by: G Bayliss.

When the nest is complete, the male will announce an open house by fluttering his wings. He invites a female home and hopes she approves. If she does, there will be eggs in the nest within days. If she doesn't, the nest is usually abandoned. A male will often make multiple nests over the course of the mating season. According to the BBC, most weaver males never become parents.   

Bird, Weaving
Garden Design
Calimesa, CA

Weaving a nest in South Africa. Photo by: Mark Shobbrook.

Weaver Bird Checks Nest
EarthStone Ovens
Glendale, CA

A weaver bird checks on chicks in the nest, Camp Okavango, Botswana. Photo credit: George Lamson.

Tha majority of species build individual love nests, but others, such as the sparrow weavers of Africa, will weave aggregate nests in communities with hundreds of other weaver bird pairs. 

Weaver Birds 
Garden Design
Calimesa, CA

Weaver bird nests in Jinja, Uganda. Photo by: Nicola Swann.

Weaver Bird 1
Garden Design
Calimesa, CA

A weaver bird at Alamana Camp, Tanzania. Photo by: George Lamson.

Community Of Weaver Birds
Garden Design
Calimesa, CA

A community of weaver bird nests in Namibia. Photo by: Mark Abel.

Weaver Bird
Garden Design
Calimesa, CA

A weaver bird building a nest at the Nkorho Bush Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa. Photo by: Tim Ellis.

Free NewsletterSign up for weekly gardening inspiration and design tips

Join thousands of design-conscious readers for exclusive offers, gardening inspiration and innovative design solutions for enjoying outdoor spaces.

*Name: *Email:

* Required Fields
We will never sell or distribute your email to any other parties or organizations.

More about the newsletter

Come on a journey with us! Explore amazing gardens, view beautiful plants, and gain insights from the world’s best designers. Click on the issue to preview its contents.

Summer 2016 - Issue 195Summer 2016 - Issue 195
Follow Us Garden Design Magazine Facebook Garden Design Magazine Twitter Garden Design Magazine Google Plus Garden Design Magazine Pinterest Garden Design Magazine Instagram

Free Weekly Newsletter

Close