Friday, July 29, 2011

Type of Nests of Different Bird Species

There are several types of nests. These include mound, scrape, burrow, cavity, cup, pendant, sphere, saucer and platform.  Here are the different types of nest of animals (with photos).


Many burrow-nesting birds excavate their own burrows while some use those excavated by other animals. Soil plays a different role in the burrow nest; here, the eggs and young—and in most cases the incubating parent bird—are sheltered under the earth.

Common species that build Burrow

White-browed Tits, Common Kingfishers, Burrowing Owls, Burrowing Parakeet, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers, some Crepuscular Petrels and Prions, Crab Plovers, D’Arnaud’s Barbet, Puffbirds, Sand Martins, Puffins, Shearwaters, some Megapodes, Motmots, Todies, Miners, Leaftossers and most Kingfishers.


Black Woodpecker youngsters in their cavity nest

The cavity nest is a chamber, typically in living or dead wood, but sometimes in the trunks of tree ferns or large cactuses like saguaro. Some species excavate their own cavity nest like woodpeckers, trogons and others while other species use natural cavities or abandoned one like parrots, tits and others

Notable species that nest on cavities

Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Trogons, Barbets, Parrots, Tits, Bluebirds, Hornbills, some Kingfishers, some Owls, some ducks and some Flycatchers


Cup nest of a Common Blackbird

Cup nests are smoothly hemispherical inside, with deep depression to house the eggs. They are usually made of grass and a few are made of spider silk, mud and saliva. The spider silk is a lightweight material which is strong and extremely flexible, allowing the nest to mold to the adult during incubation (reducing heat loss), then to stretch to accommodate the growing nestlings; as it is sticky, it also helps to bind the nest to the branch or leaf to which it is attached

Popular species that build cup nest

Many Passerines, few non-passerines, some Hummingbirds, some Swifts, Kinglets, Crests, Tyrant Flycatchers, Several New World Warblers

Saucer or Plate

The saucer or plate nest, though superficially similar to a cup nest, has at most only a shallow depression to house the eggs.


Mallefowl mound

Some species of bird bury their eggs for incubation. This type of nest is called Mound. It is constructed using soil, branches, sticks, twigs and leaves. Birds lay their eggs within the rotting mass. The heat generated by these mounds, which are in effect giant compost heaps, warms and incubates the eggs.

A Coot Mound

Well-known Species that build Mound

Flamingo, Horned Coot, Mallefowl and Australian Bush Turkey


Platform nests are large structure, often many times the size of the bird which has built them. The platform built by eagles is called eyries. These large nests are often used for many years, with new material added each breeding season.

Well-known species that build Platforms

Ospreys, Eagles, Egrets


Nesting colony of the Red-rumped Cacique (a single bird perched center-left).

Pendant nests are elongated sac woven of pliable materials such as grasses and plant fibers and suspended from a branch. There are several species that weave pendant nests.

Nesting colony of Montezuma Oropendolas

Popular species that build Pendant

Caciques, Orioles, Oropendolas, Sunbirds and Weavers


American Golden Plover’s Scrape nest with four eggs

The simplest nest construction is the Scrape. It is merely a shallow depression in soil or vegetation. This type of nest typically has a rim deep enough to keep the eggs from rolling away. It is sometimes lined with bits of vegetation, small stones, shell fragments or feathers.

Popular species that build Scrape

Ostriches, most Tinamous, many Ducks, most Shorebirds, most Terns, some Falcons, Pheasants, Quail, Partridges, Bustards and Sandgrouse, Lesser Nighthawks and the Red-tailed Tropicbird, Marbled Godwits, Three-banded Courser and Egyptian Plover.


The Sphere nest is a roundish structure; it is completely enclosed, except for a small opening which allows access. One notable maker of sphere nest is the Thick-billed Weaver.

See also 


  1. Thanks for a great resource.

  2. Thanks so much for the informational post! bird removal in New Jersey must take down so many of these.

  3. i want all birds nests name in marathi..plz help

  4. I want almost 20 numbers of birds nest




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