Weaver nests are often very conspicuous, as males (in polygynous species) try to attract more females. This means that the nests are also more visible to predators. Weavers counter-act this by placing nests in less accessible sites, but predation still occurs. Snakes are among the deadly raiders of weaver nests, taking eggs and chicks, and at night sometimes also catching adult weavers roosting in the nests.
Snake predators of weaver nests
Where the snake species has been identified, the most common predators of weaver nests are the Boomslang Dispholidus typus and Cape Cobra Naja nivea. Some other recorded snake predators are, in decreasing order: Rhombic Egg-eater Dasypeltis scabra (and other egg-eater species), Black Mamba Dendroaspis polylepis, pythons, and Green Mamba Dendroaspis angusticeps (see photos below).
Snake predation papers
Recent reviews of snake predation included some weaver records:
- Grundler MC 2020 SquamataBase: a natural history database and R package for comparative biology of snake feeding habits. Biodiversity Data Journal 8:e49943 (data based mainly on published references)
- Maritz RA, Maritz B 2020 Sharing for science: high-resolution trophic interactions revealed rapidly by social media. Biodiversity and Conservation online (data mainly from facebook page)
The most comprehensive global database of snake (and reptile) taxonomy is The Reptile Database.
Some photos of snakes raiding weaver nests
PHOWN (PHOtos of Weaver Nests) contains several great photos of snakes robbing weaver nests – a few are shown below (all photos hosted at vmus.adu.org.za):
|If you have a photo of an interesting weaver nest or colony, please upload under PHOWN at the Virtual Museum of the University of Cape Town (read the “How to” pdf for help).
PHOWN, PHOtos of Weaver Nests, is a citizen science project to collect and monitor breeding distributions and colony sizes of weaver birds globally.