A female African masked-weaver (Ploceus velatus) inspecting a nest to see if it suits her requirements. More often than not, the female will reject the nest and look elsewhere, sending the males into a frenzy of building two or three nests at the same time, sometimes as many as six!
This female was quite impressed with the housing and shortly after her inspection, she flew to the ground, returning with a feather and disappeared inside. the male was ecstatic! He did a little dance on the branch above her, and then joined her inside. How I wish I could have seen what was going on in there!
But the nesting season is all over now, the males have all lost their breeding colours and the garden is strangely quiet with just the odd chirps.
The Southern Masked-Weaver or African Masked-Weaver is a native of sub-Saharan Africa with a short, conical bill. Adult males in breeding plumage have a black face and throat, red eyes, a bright yellow head and under-parts, and yellowish-green upper-parts, whereas females (and non-breeding males) are dull greenish yellow, streaked darker on the upper back, and the throat is yellowish, becoming off-white on the belly, with duller irides. It nests in colonies, like other weavers, and the nests, again like those of other weavers, are woven of reeds, palms or grasses. The Southern Masked-Weaver appears to have established itself locally in parts of northern Venezuela.