Common Tailor Bird, Bangalore, Wildart talk with Prasad Natarajan - Wildlife Artist, Birds of Bangalore - Week 17

  • Title: Sewing Machine!
  • Medium: Ink and water color on paper
  • Duration: 12 hours
  • November 26th, 2015

Welcome back again for another edition of Birds of Bangalore, sun has been playing constant hide and seek and its starting to get colder during nights. Early morning is misty, what a season for bird watching. About three months of winter migrants to watch-out for starts. I have been wanting to travel out however this year might not be the right time, may be the next January!

On Thursday morning, sun was a bit early to show up and that's when I walked towards Rampura Lake, hoping to see the commoners. Ofcourse, there isn't much lake left however I did find my common mates fluttering around. Right from my childhood days, I was always fascinated by how birds build their nests and the effort that goes into creating such marvelous little structures that amaze me!

Our bird of this week is also one such brilliant creator. Crown is colored Burnt sienna(rusty brown), beak is colored pinkish, lower mandible, blue color patches on the upper, eyes light brown with black iris. Throat, breast and lower under parts are colored of white with hint of blue and light brown. On the nape the layer of light blue run through, majority of the body is colored green, coverts are colored purple, tarsus is colored dark pink. Both male and female look similar. Young ones look smaller and duller in color.

From the title I hope you guessed the bird already! If not you must have known it through the description. Well, we are talking about the Common Tailor bird(Orthotomus sutorius). Like all warblers, Tailor bird is also shy and one can only find them out through their call. I was lucky enough to find an active nest besides the lake. So I just sat down for about 3 hours watching them. They are insectivorous, meaning majority of their diet are insects. They breed throughout the year and major breeding happens during monsoon and post monsoon.

What is interesting about this bird is the way they build their nest. They pierce holes on the edges of leaves and sew them with vines like threads, making a cross type pattern till the end. Similar to the way we tie our shoe lace, they use dry hay and cotton to build the inner layers. Both male and female take part in building the nest, though the initiator is the male.

With the sun out for couple of hours, there was enough insect movement that morning and I could observe them catch couple of them. Though the lake is drying up fast, the farms and fruit plantation provides great habitat for the Tailor bird and since it's an encroached land farmers and are not looking for profit from this piece of land at the moment, hence pesticides usage is also less at farms besides the lake.

Other than humans these birds face threat from palm squirrels, crows, coucal, garden lizards, rats etc. Since they breed throughout the year, it's a great adaptation in growing urban spaces, however how long the farmers besides the lake area will not use heavy pesticides is a question to be asked and addressed at the earliest! Before we start losing these birds, like the House Sapprow!

Until next week, keep watching!

Posted with: Bangalore Wildlife, Birding Destinations

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