Bird Families

Nine unusual bird nests


JAKANA AFRICAN (Actophilornis africanus)inhabits sub-Saharan Africa. The wing length of the African Jacana is 13-18 cm. The African Jacana is interesting in that it molts quickly, with the loss of the ability to fly. During mating games, African Jacans fly into the air and fly for a long time, chasing each other, as is typical for waders.

Jacana Madagascar - Actophilornis albinucha- found on the marshy shoals of the eastern part of the island of Madagascar (Lac Ravelob). The colors of the Madagascar Jacana are the same as those of the African Jacana: the top is chestnut, the front part of the chest and the cheeks are white, from the eyes through the head at the back there is a black train, the edging of the cheeks and chest is also black. The beak is long, bluish-gray, on the forehead there is a leathery plaque of the same color, passing into the beak.

Craftsman's nest - weaver baya (Ploceus philippinus)

The weaver family got its name from the ability to weave complex nests of different sizes, shapes and materials, depending on the species. Weaver-Baya chooses branches of thorny trees or palms above the water to weave around them from the blades of grass, which are shaped like an oblong pumpkin. These nests are about the size of a soccer ball. Since these are public birds, they do not like to settle alone, therefore, up to 60 pairs of weavers immediately populate a tree, and a colony that occupies several neighboring trees can number up to 200 pairs. The Baja weaver lives in southern Asia and the Indian subcontinent, and its nesting season coincides with the monsoon period. Researchers say that weavers tend to nest their nests on the eastern side of the tree, which provides protection from heavy rains.

Solid style - Calypte anna

This North American hummingbird builds tiny "luxury" nests on tree or bush branches using primarily plant fibers, down feathers and animal hair. The building material is interconnected by a web. The construction is completed with decoration - from the outside, the nest is masked with moss or pieces of lichen. The nest is 3.8 to 5.1 cm in diameter, like a small coffee cup. And two eggs laid in such a nest are like coffee beans.

Anna Kalipta female feeds two chicks

Spartan Approach - White Tern (Gygis alba)

Collect grass, twigs, soil? A lot of hard work. Should you bother building a nest if you can just lay the egg on top of a branch? A minimalist white tern nest consists of ... literally nothing. A knot or twist on a branch is all it takes to hatch a single tern egg. Scientists suggest that this behavior in the species was formed due to parasites living in nests, which are much less if there is no nest as such.

White tern egg on a tree branch

Baker or Potter? Red stove maker (Furnarius rufus)

This American bird is so named because of its nesting behavior, because it collects wet soil and droppings, which are deposited layer by layer on a tree branch. Meanwhile, the sun is slowly drying the material. Gradually, the bird builds a characteristic structure, shaped like a dome or an old wood-burning stove.

Construction maniac - hammerhead, or shadow bird (Scopus umbretta)

This African bird builds three to five unusually large nests annually. Construction lasts a couple of months and does not depend on nesting season or not. Nests are up to two meters in diameter and in depth, and such structures weigh up to 50 kilograms. And in such "mansions" birds lay from three to seven eggs.

Hammerhead gathers nest material, Kenya

Processing and Use - Virginia Owl (Bubo virginianus)

Many species of owls value an old, well-preserved nest. The Virginia eagle owl, common on the American continent, adapts the old nests of other animals - hawks, crows and even squirrels. Yes, reusable and recyclable!

Virginia eagle owl with chick. The bird was first noticed in the state of Virginia, hence the name, but it lives in most of the Americas

Sieve - African Jacana (Actophilornis africanus)

This waterfowl, inhabiting the territory of the south of the Sahara, builds several nests per season, but chooses only one for laying, leaving others "in reserve". Its nests are floating piles of damp plant stems, so eggs often lie close to water and eventually completely submerge in it. Fortunately, Jacana eggs are water resistant, and if the egg is in the water, the bird returns it to its leaky structure.

African Jacana eggs

Planner - Californian gila (Melanerpes uropygialis)

Nesting of this North American bird requires some planning as it will take several months to hollow out a cavity in the trunk of a cactus. The case must be started long before the start of the season, so that the cavity has time to dry out before a family of woodpeckers settles in it. The cavity is called a "bunker" - a safe, cool place for eggs in the desert.

Male of Melanerpes uropygialis on the Saguaro (giant carnegia) cactus with a nesting hole. Tucson, Arizona

Mitten - common pika (Certhia familiaris)

The pika spends its entire life in the trees, looking for insects under the bark. The bird is almost invisible, because it practically merges with the bark in color. And it also arranges its nest under a piece of bark, which is only slightly behind the trunk. The gap is filled with moss, blades of grass, lichen and small chips. When chicks appear, it becomes a little cramped in such a crack - usually the pika has 5-6 offspring.

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