The Common Tailorbird is a songbird found throughout tropical Asia. It can be seen around gardens and bushes in urban areas too, hopping about quickly in search of food, giving themselves away by their loud ‘cheeup cheeup cheeup’ calls. They are a delight to watch and are not afraid of human proximity.
Tailorbirds get their name from the way their nest is constructed. The edges of a large leaf are pierced and sewn together with plant fibre or spider silk to make a cradle in which the actual nest is built. They are brightly coloured, with bright green upperparts and creamy under parts.
Tailorbirds feed on insects, mainly beetles and bugs, though they also feed on nectar from a variety of flowers on trees such as mango, silk cotton and salmalia. They breed during the monsoon season, taking turns at incubating the eggs as the eggs are the target of predators, and the parents need to be vigilant.
The Tailorbird is immortalized in “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”, one of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book stories, includes a tailorbird couple as two of the key characters.