The sociable weaver (Philetairus socius),is found in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia but is centered in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. They have a rare large compound build community nest (perhaps the most spectacular nest built by any bird), unlike other bird species.
They measure around 14 cm (5.5 in) in length and weigh only about 26 – 32g (0.092 – 1.13 oz).They are also indistinguishable between the males and females.
They are strongly associated with especially the Kalahari region of the Northern Cape province in South Africa. They use stiff grasses like Aristida cilliata and Stipagrostis as materials to build their nests.
Sociable weavers maintain their nests throughout the year and they nest in colonies that can range from 10 individuals up to 400 – 500 birds. Sometimes the nest structure can reach up to 4 metres in height. Some nests can be over 100 years old.
Weaver chicks are prey to snackes, baboons, rats of genets and therefore the preferred nesting sites are long, smooth poles or sparsely-branched trees.
To access the nest core they make use of smattering galleries with tunnels on the inside of about 25 cm long and 7 cm wide which lead to the breeding chambers that are often 10 cm to 15 cm in diameter and lined with soft materials like feathers, fluff, hair or wool.
The nest is also an effective temperature buffer against cold and warm temperatures.
Breeding is closely related to rainfall and can therefore occur any time of the year. They can raise up to four broods per breeding cycle and they all pairs are assisted by helpers to take care of the younger siblings.