Sociable weaver

The bird with the gigantic heritage nest

Yathin S Krishnappa

This tiny fellow from Africa has a scaly pattern on its back and flanks. It is a brown bird with a sandy rump and a prominent bib. A resident of an open arid region, related to Kalahari from South Africa, is distributed across NW South Africa, S to SW Botswana, and parts of Namibia.

They enjoy grains and insects hopping around on the ground; nestlings are strictly nourished with insects. Unlike most other birds, their nests are permanent, huge, and can house more than a hundred families passed on to future generations. Breeding is entirely dependent on rainfall; multiple broods are raised per year.


Population est.
South Africa

Did you know?

  • These colonial nesting birds use trees or man-made structures (like poles) for building nests.
  • Nesting material can weigh up to 1 tonne.
  • Nest chambers are thermoregulated and are repaired and maintained regularly.
  • Many symbiotic associations can be observed with other birds, like the African Pygmy Falcon (Africa’s smallest falcon) at the nesting sight; they share nests with other birds too.

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd / Flock

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No