In extremely arid areas, with no available water, the sociable weaver obtains all its water needs from insects. In the southern range of the weaver's habitat, breeding may occur any time of the year and is closely linked to rainfall. diet of a population of cape cobras from the south-western cape, and 3) studies that focus on sociable weaver (Philetairus socius) biology have indicated that cape cobras are important predators of birds in at least some systems (Covas et al. Being an insectivore, the sociable weaver diet is made up of around 80 % insects with the balance being seeds. Weaver world wonders: The sociable weaver is a common little brown bird in the Kalahari region of southern Africa. Some rights reserved. As an adaptation to living in the dry Kalahari Desert, where standing water is scarce, the sociable weaver obtains all of its water from a diet of insects. They also feed on seed and other plant products. 80% of their diet comprises insects, from which they get all of their water. Weaver diet varies from species to species. Sociable weaver nests are a sight to behold, and easily one of the most recognisable structures in the Southern Africa bush. The ratio of their diet depends on the species. Round, cozy nesting chambers are usually 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 centimeters) in diameter. Some sociable weaver nests weigh several tons and can get so heavy they knock down the supporting tree. Head-Body Length: 14 cm Identification: The sociable weaver is dull brown with a black face mask, a bluish bill and back, and its wings are patterned with black spots. The sociable weaver’s nest sees plenty of guests—a regular Kalahari Desert inn! A cheetah using a Sociable Weaver nest as a look-out point (Photo: Liam Charlton). The species raises an average of four broods each breeding cycle in normal conditions. Since it inhabits arid regions, it derives all of its water from the insects. For some sociable weavers in Africa, the perfect nest-building tree has become a utility or telephone pole.Â. Your tax-deductible gift will care for wildlife at the Zoo and Safari Park The rest of the sociable weaver diet is seeds from grasses. The Sociable Weaver was first described by ornithologist John Latham in 1790. Checking for associated species at a weaver colony at Tswalu (Photo: Anthony Lowney). Sociable Weaver has Burrow type of nest which is build by Both. Sociable weavers have a unique nesting system. Through trial and error, we have learned what to provide for nesting material. your support is more crucial now than ever before. They weave one nest for their entire colony as well as for future residents. Yet this sparrow-sized critter may be one of the most interesting birds in the world! The sociable weaver (Philetairus socius) is a species of bird in the weaver family that is endemic to southern Africa. There may be 5 to 100 nesting chambers in a single sociable weaver nest, providing a home for 10 to 400 birds! The grey-capped social weaver (Pseudonigrita arnaudi) is a sparrow-like liver-colored bird, with a pale grey crown, a dark grey bill, a whitish eye-ring, horn-colored legs, with some black in the wing and a light terminal band in the tail, that builds roofed nests made of straws, breeds in colonies in thorny Acacia trees, and feeds in groups gathering grass seeds and insects. Building such a huge nest is no simple task for such a small bird, which is why it is important for them to be in constant communication as they maintain their group home. This is no ordinary nest—it is massive, like a giant apartment block occupied by up to 100 sociable weaver families all year long. Large twigs form the roof of the nest and dry grasses create the separate chambers. A Sociable Weaver poking its head out of the huge nesting mass (Photo: Anthony Lowney). A long call is used to announce their arrival to the nest. But if you crawl under the nest and look up, you can see the entrances to the different chambers within the nest. Seen all over Tswalu, these enormous nests can be used for over a decade. The Sociable Weaver is an icon of South Africa’s arid zones and one of the drawcards that attracts people to the Kalahari. Most of their food is collected while the birds are on the ground, but they are able to catch insects in flight, too. The birds may seem like clever artisans with their nest-building ability. More residents mean more eyes keeping a watch for danger. Some of their primary plant food sources include weed seeds, grains, nuts, nectar from flowers, and more. Unlock thousands of full-length species accounts and hundreds of bird family overviews when you subscribe to Birds of the World. Nesting Sociable Weavers don’t drink a lot, finding water in their food. Insectivorous and granivorous (from Maclean 1967; Maclean 1973e), Uncommonly eaten foods (from Maclean 1967; Maclean 1973e), Feeding (from Maclean 1967; Maclean 1973e unless otherwise noted). Image credit: © CraftOlogy from Flickr. © 2020 San Diego Zoo Global — All Rights Reserved. The rest of the sociable weaver diet is seeds from grasses. garious sociable weavers. The San Diego Zoo is home to the only colony of sociable weavers in the United States. A proper nesting tree has a long, smooth trunk and high branches to discourage slithering predators such as Cape cobras and boomslangs, a type of tree snake.Â, Other predators include the honey badger and pygmy falcon. Diet. Together we can save and protect wildlife around the globe. Sharp spikes of straw protect the entrance tunnels from predators. They also eat seeds and plant parts; adults may feed insects to the young of other pairs. DIET: Sociable Weaver feeds mainly on insects and seeds. legumes) before eating, Flick cones with the bill to break open and gain access, Beak captures and manipulates adult grasshoppers, Hold prey by the abdomen and beat its head and thorax on the ground before consumption, Picked from the ground or dug (with the beak) from soil burrows, Swallow small larvae whole or ‘pulp’ larger larvae. Weaver nests need constant care because of the nature of the materials used. Their favourite food is harvester termites which provide them moisture for drink. Two to six tiny spotted eggs are laid in a clutch. In addition, sociable weavers have a staccato threat call. The sociable weaver is insectivorous with insects comprising 80% of their diet. Given the importance of diet and feeding… Always in motion, always together, the sociable weavers are an inspiration to see. 2008). They build large compound community nests, a rarity among birds. And the weavers often learn from the other birds where there are new sources of food. Fledgling chicks might just move to an empty nesting chamber nearby. We studied three sociable weaver nests at the Brink Research Site in central Namibia between May and June 2014 with all three nests located in the same tree. Each species account is written by leading ornithologists and provides detailed information on bird distribution, migration, habitat, diet, sounds, behavior, breeding, current population status, and conservation. As they years have passed, they have become a successfully reproducing colony, with over 300 hatches.Â, Our colony currently numbers between 50 and 60 weavers. The South African pygmy falcon relies completely on the sociable weavers’ nest for its own home, often nesting side by side with the sociable weavers. The San Diego Zoo is home to the only colony of sociable weavers in the United States. Sociable weavers are known to assist in the care o… Seeds and insects are plucked off the ground with the beak; the feet are often seen kicking loose soil to expose buried food. Sociable weavers feed on a diet of insects and seeds , with individuals from different nests differing in dietary profiles . In the Kalahari Desert, where standing water is scarce, the sociable weaver obtains all of its water from a diet of insects. Watch them in action along Monkey Trail in Lost Forest. The species has been observed to breed when it is nearly two years old. Every bird species has unique features. In 1997, we started with an original colony of 22 birds. One such predator is the iconic Cape cobra. There are few amazing facts you might want to know about them. A climate-controlled nest: Large nests help the sociable weavers stay comfortable in the harsh climate of the Kalahari Desert. Sociable weaver birds meet most of their water needs through their diet, which consists mainly of insects. Fortunately, sociable weaver populations are currently stable in the wild. You can help us bring less fortunate species back from the brink by supporting the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy. And can you imagine never moving away from home? Harvester termites are a preferred food. Scorching summer temperatures are easier to weather when roosting in one of the outer chambers of the nest. The Sociable Weaver is a small light brown bird with a grey bill and a black face mask and belongs to the weaver … Colonies of up to 500 birds are found in a nest made entirely of sticks and grass that may exceed one ton in weight. This is the only living species in the genus Philetairus. Parents even provide insects for their neighbors’ young. Most are primarily herbivorous, and eat mostly seeds, but they also eat insects and invertebrates. The sociable weaver is insectivorous. These are like weaver egg and chick factories, with dozens of freshly pro-duced, free-range snacks for any predator that can access them. The largest sociable weaver nests are over 20 feet (6 meters) wide and close to 10 feet (3 meters) tall, with more than 100 individual nesting chambers. Some Aquatic Birds can fly while others can't. Males and females look alike. Insects and seeds compose nearly the entire diet This weaver feeds extensively on harvester termites. Sociable weavers need less water than any other bird. Nesting chambers are lined from top to bottom with soft plant material, fur, cotton, and fluff. Diet, nutrition, feeding behavior. Each species account is written by leading ornithologists and provides detailed information on bird distribution, migration, habitat, diet, sounds, behavior, breeding, current population status, and conservation. Record holder: the sociable weaver is the builder of the largest tree nests in the world. Both parents take turns incubating the eggs until they hatch in two weeks. Juvenile sociable weavers provide food for their younger siblings for the next three weeks when they fledge. Sociable weavers do not migrate; in fact, chicks may never leave the nest. Around the wiki. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results. Ploceidae is a family of small passerine birds, many of which are called weavers, weaverbirds, weaver finches and bishops.These names come from the nests of intricately woven vegetation created by birds in this family. They may skip breeding during years when there is low rainfall and a substantial number (sometimes over half) of birds in the colony may never breed in a given season. The sociable weaver’s diet is primarily comprised of insects. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. As an adaptation to living in the dry Kalahari Desert, where standing water is scarce, the sociable weaver obtains all of its water from a diet of insects. Favorite items include various dried grasses, pine needles, and Bermuda hay. Some sociable weaver nests have remained occupied for over 100 years!Â. African pygmy falcons rely on weaver bird nests for their roosting and nest sites, especially sociable weavers in South Africa and white-headed buffalo weavers in northeast Africa. Most of their food is collected while the birds are on the ground, but they are able to catch insects in flight, too. Fortunately, sociable weaver populations are currently stable in the wild. As an adaptation to living in the dry Kalahari Desert, where standing water is scarce, the sociable weaver obtains all of its water from a diet of insects. Sociable Weaver Facts. Weavers continually add more material to keep the nest intact. Most never take a drink, getting all the moisture they need from their food: bugs. It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. A male Boomslang forages in a Sociable Weaver nest (Photo: Anthony Lowney). Distribution in southern Africa reflects is obligate dependence on sociable weavers (Covas et al. In other species, insects make up a more significant percentage. Seeds and plant products also make up part of its diet. An alarm call is a harsh, single note. They also feed on seed and other plant products. Vultures, owls, and eagles often roost on the nests’ broad roof.Â. Unlock thousands of full-length species accounts and hundreds of bird family overviews when you subscribe to Birds of the World. The Pygmy Falcon, or African Pygmy Falcon (Polihierax semitorquatus), is a falcon that lives in eastern and southern Africa and is the smallest raptor on the continent. They build huge nest structures, housing hundreds of birds of several generations at a time. Unlike other weavers who build their nests in the breeding season, sociable weavers use and maintain the nests throughout the year. Birds travel to feeding locations together and feed as a flock on the ground. During freezing winter nights, a move to the nest’s well-insulated center chambers helps the little birds stay warm. When building the nest, sociable weavers use different materials for different purposes. Fact sheet index, San Diego Zoo Global Library, Email the librarians at library@sandiegozoo.org, https://ielc.libguides.com/sdzg/factsheets/sociableweaver, International Environment Library Consortium, Sociable Weaver (Philetairus socius) Fact Sheet, Prefer green grass seeds with a high water content, Stand on the ground to gather food, most often, Birds behind fly over those in front to land at the head of the flock, Flick bill to uncover seeds covered with sand, Crack larger seeds (e.g. Weight: .8 to 1.13 ounces (24 to 32 grams). Insectivorous and granivorous (from Maclean 1967; Maclean 1973e). The constant chatter of the birds, and the abundant energy and liveliness at a colony, is something truly mesmerising. At the San Diego Zoo, the weavers get crickets, fly and mealworm larva, finch seeds, tropical fruit, and chopped greens. But sociable weavers build or add to their nest instinctively—they don't need training and can only create their dwelling place the same way their ancestors have done. Foraging Ecology & Dietary Analyses Information regarding the diet and feeding ecology of snakes is lacking for most snake species, especially in Africa where quantitative descriptions of diet are exceedingly rare. Under typical conditions, weavers raise up to four broods per breeding cycle. Sociable weavers are unlike most other birds due to their lifestyle and nest building. Glossary New species New genera It is the only species in the monotypic genus Philetairus.It is found in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. 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