A common sight in the savannas of northern Tanzania's Tarangire Ecosystem is an Acacia tree laden with intricately woven balls of vegetation hanging from its branches like ornaments on a Christmas tree. These amazing nests are made by weaver birds of the family Ploceidae. The colorful seed-eating weaver birds are related to finches, which is evident from their relatively large, conical bills.
Given their common name, it is not surprising to learn that weaver birds construct impressive and elaborately woven nests using grasses, twigs, and leaves. Nests can be messy, like those of the buffalo weavers, or tight and neat, like those of the masked weavers. The males typically weave the nests and use them to attract females.
Many species of weaver bird are highly gregarious and build their nests in large colonies as protection from predators. This can result in a very large number of nests in a single tree - rather like Christmas trees of the savanna!
Watch a short video of Black-headed Weaver males weaving their nests of grasses on an Acacia tree in Tarangire National Park.
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