The Sociable Weaver or Social Weaver (Philetairus socius)

It is found in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, but their range is centred around Northern Cape Province and southern Namibia. They build large compound community nests, a rarity among birds. These nests are perhaps the most spectacular structure built by any bird.

Measuring around 14 cm (5.6 in.) in length, the Sociable Weaver has a black chin, black barred flanks and a scalloped back. They weigh between 26-32 g and sexes are indistinguishable.

Sociable weavers construct permanent nests on trees and other tall objects. These nests are the largest built by any bird, and are large enough to house over a hundred pairs of birds, containing several generations at a time. The nests are highly structured and provide birds with a more advantageous temperature relative to the outside. The central chambers retain heat and are used for night-time roosting. The outer rooms are used for daytime shade and maintain temperatures of 7-8 degrees Celsius inside while outside temperatures may range from 16-33 degrees Celsius. Sociable weaver nests are used commensally by several other bird species, most commonly the Pygmy Falcon.

The nests consist of separate chambers, each of which is occupied by a pair (sometimes with offspring) roost and breed. Nests are built around large and sturdy structures like Acacia trees or sometimes even telephone poles.

The nest appears like a large haystack in the tree. If seen from below, several entrances into the chambers may be seen, giving a honey-comb appearance. The entrances may be about 3 inches wide and can be up to 10 inches long. Sharp sticks may be placed to deter predators from entering. Snakes, especially the Cape Cobras are the most common nest predators, often consuming all the eggs in all the chambers of a large nest.

788px-Sociable_Weaver_Namibia

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         The world of the Social Weaver. Flat and more flat that goes on for ever…….

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15 thoughts on “The Sociable Weaver or Social Weaver (Philetairus socius)

  1. I have never seen anything like this before, either! I love to come here and see your photography and also get to learn something new.

  2. WOW! This is very interesting dear Rob, I haven’t seen them before… What amazing little birds! Nature world fascinates me once again… Thank you, love, nia

  3. Very beautiful birds – and such an interesting nesting strategy!! Many entrances… housing hundreds of birds from many generations … wow!! Thanks for sharing BDS πŸ™‚

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