Weaving birds, weave like a bird

Man does not have a monopoly on weaving. The weaver is a bird that takes its name precisely from its ability to build nests in remarkable shapes. The species is divided into more than one hundred families, grouped under the order of passerines, most of which live on the African continent.
The most common variety is that of the village weaver, but the sociable weavers, who have a particular herding instinct, are able to collectively build spectacular nests that can house up to 300 families, reach 7 m in diameter and 4 m in height and weigh nearly a ton.
The males build the egg shaped nests, carefully selecting fresh herbs and soft foliage, suitable for bending and braiding. The construction is made from top to bottom with amazing dexterity – given the fact that their beak is their only tool. First, they form a chain from stems or branches and use blades of grass to stabilise it, which are arranged circularly, sometimes in one direction, sometimes in another, to make the most compact weave. Once completed, the interior consists of an entrance leading downwards, which gives access to a room that occupies the female for the egg laying season, and an anteroom.
Despite their lack of tools, some species of weaver have develop an ability that reaches such a fine regularity in its way of planting fibres and its way of intersecting them that it has nothing to envy of the technical skills of man. This excellent knowledge questions the very definition of animal intelligence as man generally views it…