Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus)
The Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus) is a small passerine bird belonging to the weaver family (Ploceidae). It is found primarily in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, including countries such as India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The Baya Weaver inhabits a variety of open habitats, such as grasslands, scrublands, and cultivated areas, often near water sources like rivers, lakes, and wetlands.
The Baya Weaver is a small bird, measuring around 15-17 centimeters (5.9-6.7 inches) in length. It has a stout, conical bill that is well-suited for handling seeds, which form a significant portion of its diet. The bird’s plumage varies depending on the sex and breeding season. Males in breeding plumage have a bright yellow crown, a black face, and a pale or whitish throat, while the rest of the body is a mix of brown and pale yellow. Non-breeding males and females have a more subdued coloration, with brown and buff tones dominating the plumage. Females are generally paler and more uniform in color than males.
The Baya Weaver primarily feeds on seeds, particularly those of grasses and cereals. It may also consume insects and other small invertebrates, especially during the breeding season when additional protein is required for egg production and chick growth.
Reproduction and Lifecycle:
The breeding season for the Baya Weaver typically occurs between April and August, although it may vary depending on the location and the availability of food. These birds are known for their remarkable nest-building skills. Males build intricate, pendulous nests made of grasses or palm leaves, often suspended from branches over water or in tall grasses. The nests have a central chamber for the eggs and a long entrance tunnel to protect against predators.
The male displays at the nest site to attract a female, who will inspect the nest before mating. If she approves, the pair will mate and she will lay 2 to 5 pale blue or greenish eggs in the nest. The eggs are incubated by the female for approximately 14-16 days. After hatching, the chicks are fed and cared for by both parents until they fledge, or leave the nest, at around 17-20 days old.
The Baya Weaver is currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its wide distribution and stable population. The species is not facing any major threats at present. However, habitat loss due to agricultural expansion, urbanization, and wetland drainage, as well as the use of pesticides, could pose potential risks to the Baya Weaver population in the future.