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How does a tailorbird sew its nest?

Not all birds build their nests from twigs and dry grass. Some make mud nests. Others nest among stones. Across the tropical ecosystems of Asia, the small common tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius) sews a sturdy bird nest together from leaves and spider webs, fine grass, or plant fibers. This updated video, filmed by Ronit Vasani in India, shows how a tailorbird sews a nest and raises a family of four baby birds over the course of a month.

tailorbird sewing
The tailorbird was also “immortalized by Rudyard Kipling in his Jungle Book.” From Thai National Parks:

The nest is a deep cup, lined with soft materials and placed in thick foliage and the leaves holding the nest have the upper surfaces outwards making it difficult to spot. The punctures made on the edge of the leaves are minute and do not cause browning of the leaves, further aiding camouflage…

In some cases the nest is made from a single large leaf, the margins of which are rivetted together. Sometimes the fibres from one rivet are extended into an adjoining puncture and appearing more like sewing. The stitch is made by piercing two leaves and drawing fibre through them. The fibres fluff out on the outside and in effect they are more like rivets. There are many variations in the nest and some may altogether lack the cradle of leaves.

tailorbird babies
tailorbird babies
Next: Weaverbird nests, blackbird babies, cliff swallows, and hummingbird hatchlings.

Plus: A leaf-rolling weevil crafts its nest with careful folds.

Updated video.

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