Tailormade African Safaris by the Safari Legends
Green-backed Camaroptera (Camaroptera brachyura)
The Green-backed Camaroptera is in many ways an remarkable little bird. As can be seen above, it is small (between 11-12cm long) with a red eye, a grey face and a green back from whence the name stems.
It has been described as a skulking bird due to its preference to be found relatively low down to the ground in fairly dense to almost impassable brush cover where it can best find its preferred food of multitudes of insects and assorted invertebrates. It also shows a preference to bush that ranges along watercourses, where it builds its nests in low shrubs.
What sets this bird apart from others is the way in which it builds its nest. It is most remarkable in that this little bird has taught itself the art of sewing! It typically builds its nest low down to the ground in a tuft of grass, low shrub or a sapling and the nest itself is the pièce de résistance. It is a ball shaped nest covered over by leaves that have been sewn together using sticky spider silk.
Not much has been written on the process by which these nests are created but they look amazing and as seen above, are incredibly delicate. The Camaroptera lines the inside of the leaf/silk ball with soft grasses as well as feathers that are all held together with even more spider silk and will lay between 2 and 4 eggs in this miniature engineering marvel.
These little birds are true masters of their crafts and their nests are incredibly well hidden. This particular one took four of us searching for about fifteen minutes until we managed to spot its irregular shape hidden amongst the leaf litter after watching an adult flit in and out of the region around it.