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Welcome to my art blog from Tasmania, Australia. I post a little on my various art projects while also working in plant genetics. For more, please try the links to my various art pages or email me at silvergumstudio@yahoo.com.au. Thank you for visiting!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

African weaver birds

Here's another critter I've been studying and painting for 'When I Was a Boy in Sudan' ... the African weaver bird.  It's a pesky bird for growers of crops like sorghum, because it steals the flowers (hence the painting above of the children shooing away birds), but it is also a very attractive small bird with remarkable nest-building skills.
Weaver birds are related to finches and form large colonies - either building hundreds of hanging nests close together on a single tree, or apartment-style nests containing hundreds of small chambers.  The nests are very elaborately woven out of grass, leaf fibres and twigs, and usually have a circular entrance at the bottom.
The close-up of the bird is based on a photo by wildlife photographer Paul McKenzie, whose lovely photos of birds in action can be seen at www.wildencounters.net.  Thank you Paul and Paveena for permission to use your photo as reference material. The tree below is no exaggeration - in fact, I had to edit out a lot of the nests! - and is based on photos taken by the book's authors.  I would love to see these birds in action, so perhaps a trip to Africa is in order...


  1. Hi Gay, beautifully done. So interesting...love the illustrations.. :)

  2. Gay, I am loving seeing how this book is developing! The illustrations are beautiful! There is so much subtle movement in the top one and I love you use of space in the bottom one. I can't wait to see the completed book!!

  3. Beautiful. What lovely line work. Thanks for sharing and good luck with the book.