The mud nest of the apostle bird is a sturdy home high in the trees, built using a jiggled-mud construction technique.

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Apostlebirds, which are native to the woodlands of Australia, build large nests that can have walls up to 2.54 cm (1 in.) thick, weigh up to 2.3 kg (5 lb.), and be located as high as 15 m (50 ft.) above the ground. These nests are communally assembled out of mud and strengthened by grass, small sticks, fur, and feathers. A nest must be able to resist sudden and intense movements caused by wind or other forces, so the birds enhance its security with a vibration-construction technique. Apostlebirds vibrate the supportive materials as they assemble a nest, which liquefies the mud so that it can forge a close bond between the materials. These birds also create a solid base for the nest by wrapping the mud around a supporting branch.

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References

“Closely related to the magpie lark are two other Australian birds of the open forest, the apostle bird and white-winged chough. They build substantially larger nests, weighing up to five pounds, located as much as fifty feet above the ground. But even these scaled-up versions of the adobe cup with their inch-thick walls are manufactured with the same jiggled-mud strategy that seems to be universal among birds that build with wet earth. But then vibration is a key feature in the insertion of twigs and grasses into conventional nests, so this may be a bit of behavioral recycling.” (Gould and Gould 2007:185)

Book
Animal Architects: Building and the Evolution of IntelligenceMarch 6, 2012
Gould JL, Gould CG

Journal article
The use of mud in nest-building--a review of the incidence and taxonomic importanceOstrich, Journal of African Ornithology, 40(supp 1): 139-148January 1, 1969
Rowley I

Book
Bird nests and construction behaviorCambridge, UK: Cambridge University PressJanuary 1, 2000
Hansell M

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Organism
ApostlebirdStruthidea cinereaSpecies


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