Nature’s Tailor: Common Tailorbird - Stone Lodges

Nature’s own seamstress, the Common Tailorbird owes its name to the Tailorbird’s extraordinary sewing skills. A common sight in urban gardens, these birds with their olive green and brown plumage can be spotted across the Indian subcontinent, southern China, southern Asia, the Malay Peninsula and Java.

Always active and restless, they spend a considerable amount of time foraging and hopping into vegetation of wooded habitats, searching for insects. These birds tilt their tails high above their back, wagging side to side, flitting swiftly from one patch of undergrowth to another, avoiding open spaces. The common tailor bird is very adaptive and takes advantage of thick and dense vegetation, including forest clearings.

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These skilled birds start the process of building their nest by selecting a large leaf, typically in the middle of a bush. Using their bill as a needle, they deftly poke holes along the edge of the leaf and using spider silk or plant fibre, stitches the leaves together to form a pouch. The common tailorbird often steals fibres from house doormats, scavenging for long plant fibres, tufts of wool and various other materials to use as suitable threads. The nest is hidden inside the leafy pocket and the insides are lined with soft feathery scraps. This makes for a solid cradle that both parent tailorbirds build for their offspring. Hatching their eggs in the nest, the parent birds later bring food to the nestlings- an exhausting task that constantly occupies them until the chicks are fledged two weeks later. Since the nest is stitched together using leaves, they provide excellent camouflage.

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