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image of a bird and their nest
11/28/2022 5 minute read

Birds And Their Nests

Birds are one of the most exciting animals on the planet. They come in all shapes and sizes and can be found in nearly every corner of the globe. They continue to be remarkable as we witness them fly and soar in the skies.

Perhaps one of the fascinating things about birds is their nests. Nests are built by male and female birds and usually take a few days to a few weeks to construct as their breeding season comes underway.

As you witness a flock of birds or a single one perching on a tree, do you also wonder where they nest? I’m sure most of us know the classic combination of twigs, dead lives, and woven sticks that make up bird nests. But did you know there are different types of nests? And that some birds don’t use nests at all?

Today, we’ll explore the world of bird nests and learn a little more about our feathered friends. 

Types of bird nests

The type of nest depends on the species of bird. The nests they form are influenced by climate, temperature, environment, habits, and size. Some common types of birds’ nest include:

Long-Lasting Large Bird Nests

These nests are made by birds who mate for life, such as eagles, hawks, and herons. The male and female work together to build the nest and often use the same nest year after year, adding to it as needed. They are usually very large and take up to 3 months to construct.

The largest nest declared was made by the bald eagle, discovered in 1963, in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is nearly 10 feet wide, 20 feet deep, and is over 4,400 pounds. The nest was considered to be extreme. It is common for bald eagle nests to be as large as 5 to 6 feet in diameter and as tall as 2 to 4 feet.

Flexible, Small Bird Nests

It shouldn’t be a shock that our smallest birds make the smallest nests. More than that, it’s resourceful and flexible! These nests are made by birds who typically don’t mate for life, such as sparrows, finches, and hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds will build nests attached to tree branches. The common nesting materials are plants, spider webs, and soft materials. Certain species modify their nests. Ruby-throated hummingbirds will decorate and attach flakes of lichen on their nests.

Anna’s hummingbirds also use their nests differently. They lay their eggs even before their nest is completed. The rest of the structure is formed as they incubate their eggs.

But knowing all these, where does flexibility come in? Well, these nests are built to expand. At first, they can lay eggs about the size of a black bean. The nest expands as the baby hummingbirds grow, keeping it snug.

Pendant Nests

Pendant nests are made by birds living in trees, such as orioles and catbirds- birds considered the bird world’s seamstress. They are long and thin, hanging like a pendant necklace from a branch. The nests are usually made of plant material such as bark, grass, and leaves. However, birds who craft these nests use whatever material they see.

The Altamira oriole, a native of south Texas and Central America, crafts the longest dangling pendant nests. It can hang down for more than 2 feet.

Precarious Cliffside Nests

These nests are made by birds who live on rocky coastal cliffs such as murres and guillemots. They are usually made out of mud and saliva and can be quite large, taking up an entire cliff face. Most of these nests lack structure. Instead of laying rounded eggs, they lay extra pointy ones. This specialized form helps them pivot around the point, preventing them from rolling over the edge and falling down the coast.

These cliffside nesters aren’t only found on coasts, though. Many birds, like ravens, condors, and falcons, make stick nests in crevices.

Floating Nests

Boats are not the only things that float on water- bird nests too! Most aquatic birds or waterbirds (except ducks), like grebes, loons, coots, and gallinules, nest on top of the water. The eggs of these birds will sink so they can pursue building the platform nest using reeds, cattails, and other vegetation near water or even mud.

But if you’re worrying that these platform nests may follow the stream of water or be thrown far elsewhere- they won’t! These birds anchor their nests on steady vegetation to keep them from drifting.

Underground Bird Nests

Just like how moles and other animals live, some birds, too, make their homes underground! Burrowing owls, for instance, will take over other animals’ abandoned burrows or holes, such as prairie dogs, tortoises, badgers, and other proficient diggers. At the same time, others will create their own.

These owls aren’t the only ones that go undercover. Other birds, such as prairie chickens and kingfishers, will make a shallow depression and cover the burrow with vegetation. 

Cavity Bird Nests

Cavity nests are usually found in trees but can also be found in other places, such as buildings and bridges. Woodpeckers are the most popular cavity nesters, carving out a hole in trees. The size varies depending on the woodpecker species, but the largest recorded was 12x12x24 inches!

Other birds will also use these cavities, such as owls, kestrels, and even some songbirds.

Scrape nests

Scrape nests are usually made on the ground and are pretty shallow. The nesting material used can be anything from leaves to feathers. Most of the time, scrape nests are well-hidden since they’re on the ground. This is to protect the egg and chick from nest predators.

Some birds roosting on these nests include phalaropes, killdeers, plovers, and sandpipers.

Cup-shaped nests

The cup-shaped nest is the most popular type of bird nest. They’re also known as open cups, bowl nests, or cup nests. As the name suggests, these nests take the form of a cup and are usually made of twigs, grasses, leaves, moss, and other plant materials.

The thickness of the lining will depend on the climate. For example, bird species living in colder climates will have thicker linings to keep their eggs and chicks warm. Other birds’ nests line softer materials, such as fur, down, or feathers.

Mound nests

Mound nests are built by birds who live in the arctic tundra, such as the snowy owl. These nests can be up to 4 feet tall and are usually made of grasses and moss. The inside is lined with feathers to keep the eggs and chicks warm.

Ground birds usually build these mounds.

Vulturine guineafowl: One of the Most Interesting Birds

The vulturine guineafowl is a bird that is native to Africa. These birds get their name from their resemblance to the famous predator and scavenger- vulture, but they are more closely related to turkeys. These birds are usually found in woodlands and other habitats, such as savannas and forests.

The vulturine guineafowl is the largest member of the guineafowl family. These birds can weigh up to six pounds and have a four-foot wing span. The males and females look similar, but the males are usually larger than the females. The plumage of their feather is black and white, and they have a bare, blue heads. These birds also have long necks and legs and are equipped with a black beak.

The diet of the vulturine guineafowl consists mainly of insects, but they will also prey on other small animals, fruits, and seeds. These birds usually live in pairs or small groups but can sometimes be found alone. 

Birds Nesting On Your Property? We’ll Remove Them For You!

If you have birds nesting on your property, you may be thinking about getting rid of them. Maybe they’re making a mess, or you’re just not a fan of birds. Whatever the reason, AAAC Wildlife Removal is here to help!

We understand that birds can be a nuisance, and we’re here to help you eliminate them! We’ll remove the nest and any eggs that may be inside. We’ll also clean up any mess the birds may have left behind.

Give us a call today, and we’ll take care of the rest!


There you have it! A quick guide on bird nest identification according to their habitat and lifestyle. Each nest is unique, whether big or small, pendant-shaped or underground. So the next time you see a bird’s nest, take a moment to appreciate the hard work and effort that went into making it!

To learn more about where birds build their nests and the diverse nesting habits of different bird species, click here: bird nests. Understanding their nesting preferences can help you create a bird-friendly environment and appreciate the marvels of avian architecture.

If you need assistance with bird control or have any concerns regarding birds and their nests, don’t hesitate to reach out to AAAC Wildlife Removal. Our team of professionals can provide effective solutions while ensuring the well-being of both you and the birds.


What birds undergo migration?

Many birds migrate. This includes sparrows, robins, warblers, and geese. These birds migrate because they seek an ideal breeding environment or because the food sources in their current location are scarce. Depending on their desired season, they can move out during spring, winter, summer, or fall.

What bird sings a song?

The bird that sings a song is the canary. Canaries are small, yellow birds that are native to the Canary Islands. They were initially bred for their singing abilities and are still popularly known for their beautiful songs.