What flits, hops, and sews its own home? The Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis), of course. Tailorbirds are short, stout birds, with strong legs which enable them to hop around actively in the undergrowth. They are weak fliers due to their short, stubby wings, although these are useful for squeezing into tiny gaps in bushy scrub.
The male Dark-necked Tailorbird has a solidly dark lower throat and upper breast, yellow vent, and long tailfeathers during its breeding season in early March. The females have a streaked throat and breast, with shorter tailfeathers.
A female Dark-necked Tailorbird in Rimba Ilmu.
Tailorbirds mate for life and do not move far from their preferred habitat of gardens, scrub, open woodland and mangroves. As the male keeps a lookout for trespassing Tailorbirds, the female gets to work. She pierces the edges of large leaves with her bill, and sew these together with plant fibre or spider silk—sometimes, fibre from housemats!—to form a cradle, which she then fills with grass.
This niftily-constructed nest is now ready to house a family, and the female typically lays a clutch of two to five eggs, pastel blue in colour. Both parents are equally involved in feeding and caring for their chicks.
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