Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Ploceus philippinus (Linnaeus, 1766)

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Passeriformes
Family:Ploceidae
Genus:Ploceus
Species:P. philippinus
Common Names:Baya Weaver
Status:Uncommon resident

Description

Baya weavers are sexually dimorphic; the males are more brightly coloured than the females.

Size:13–15 cm

Read more about the Passeriformes order.
Read more about the Ploceidae family.

Distribution

This species ranges from the Indian subcontinent through Southeast Asia to Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, and Java.

Localities

In Singapore, Admiralty Park, Baya Weavers have been recorded at Bukit Batok West, Changi, Kranji Marshes, Lim Chu Kang, Lorong Halus, Lorong Mayang, Pulau Ubin, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Sungei Seletar, Ulu Pandan.

Locality Map

General Biology

The Baya Weaver uses the grass blades to weave its nest, which hangs like a basket from tree branches in the open country. It is colonial and several nests can be seen on the same tree. The male makes a half-complete nest and invites the female to inspect it. If she approves, she mates with the male and completes the nest. If she disapproves, she will destroy the nest, and the poor male would have to weave another basket again.

An observation of the male building the nest up to the helmet stage after which he got his mate to approve the structure - see HERE. Once approved, the female joined in to add the egg chamber and the long pendulous entrance tube. Bul not all weavers are able to build the standard type of nests. Inexperienced birds can and do build odd-shaped nests.

The nest is made up of more than 3,000 long leaf strips intricately weaved together that can run from the top to the end of the entrance tunnel. At regular intervals there would be knots to secure the strands. Many strands break up into two at certain points with each continuing its separate direction and further knotted along the way. The inner nest chamber is lined with feathers and floss of Lalang (Imperata cylindrica) fruits. Sometimes lumps of clay are found plastered on the inner wall of the nest, possibly to stabilise it.

Nests are usually in colonies and sometimes they are built near hornets' nests as a form of protection from predators.

Glossy Swiflets have the habit of stealing nesting materials from active weavers' nests. A quelea was seen destroying an uncompleted weaver's nest HERE.

An account of adults teaching fledglings to fly is given HERE.

Diet

This grassland-dependent bird feeds on the seeds of long grass like Love Grass (Chrysopogin aciculatus), Feathery Pennisetum (Pennisetum polystachion), aril of Acacia (Acacia auriculiformis) seeds. It also feeds on animal prey like caterpillars, grasshoppers, alate termites, ...

References

Madoc, G. C. (1956). An introduction to Malayan birds. Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur. (revised ed.) 

Wang, L. K. & C. J. Hails, 2007. An annotated checklist of the birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179.

Related Activities/Events

Habitats

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