Fun Tailorbird Facts For Kids

Rhea Nischal
May 11, 2023 By Rhea Nischal
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
Tailorbird facts about the bird's diet, habitat, and other characteristics.

Tailorbirds are petite birds that mostly belong to the Orthotomus genus. They were formerly classified as members of the Old World warblers family Sylviidae but a new study indicates that they are more likely to be included in the family Cisticolidae now.

These warblers are vibrantly colored, with upper parts that are green or gray and underparts that are yellow-white or gray.

On the crown, they usually have a splash of chestnut color.

They have short rounded wings, sturdy legs, and a slender, long tail at the back. Both sexes have a neat black collar that is visible only when their neck is stretched.

Males and females are almost identical; their only distinguishing characteristic is that the central tail feathers of males are longer. They are found throughout the Old World tropics, mostly in Asia where they can be commonly seen in local parks, scrubs, wooded areas, or forests.

The tailorbird is known for its ability to make intricate nests by punching holes in the edges of a leaf with the help of its slender bill and sewing these leaves with holes together with spider silk or plant fibers.

To learn more about these captivating birds, we have gathered a set of intriguing facts about them for you to discover. You can also read interesting facts about the great tit and the tawny owl.

Tailorbird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a tailorbird?

They are songbirds with short rounded wings and strong legs, famously known for their nest-building technique. They have an olive-green upperside and a creamy white underside. They were formerly part of the Sylviidae family but were later moved to the family Cisticolidae.

What class of animal does a tailorbird belong to?

These birds belong to the class of Aves.

How many tailorbirds are there in the world?

Their exact population is unknown given their extensive number of species. Despite their widespread distribution, most people are unaware of the existence of this bird which is not easily noticeable due to its petite body and somber hues.

Where does a tailorbird live?

These small and delicate birds have a range of habitats including open forests, scrub, and gardens. This bird is a regular resident of local gardens. There are considerable populations of tailorbirds throughout Asia from India to Sri Lanka to Pakistan and Southern China to Indonesia. They are a common sight in the gardens of India and China.

What is a tailorbird's habitat?

This bird inhabits places that have a thick cover like gardens or parks. It lives in the intricate nest it builds.

The female forms the cover of the nest by methodically piercing an equal number of holes on the edges of a leaf with her pointed bill, using a single leaf or a cluster of leaves. Then they 'sew' the leaves to form a nest that is further lined with cotton and animal hairs to make it inhabitable.

Who do tailorbirds live with?

They are normally seen alone or in couples. They are seen low in the bushes or trees or occasionally jumping in the grass.

How long does a tailorbird live?

The lifespan of this bird is unknown

How do they reproduce?

Their breeding season starts in March and ends in December. During the breeding season, two of the male's long central tail feathers grow longer, reaching 2 in (5.08 cm) beyond the tail.

Nest robbers like snakes, lizards, mongooses, and numerous predatory birds thrive in the tropical shrubbery where the tailorbird resides. Therefore, the tailorbird builds its nest deeply in a dense group of bushes or in trees that are as tall as 20 ft (6.1 m) high to protect itself from these predators.

What is their conservation status?

These birds are widespread and adapt to human habitation relatively easily. Their conservation status is Least Concern. However, despite this, their population trend has seen a slight decline

Tailorbird Fun Facts

What do tailorbirds look like?

The dainty tailorbird has a long curved bill (which helps it when punching holes in leaves), short rounded wings, and a short tail. It has an upright tail that resembles a wren.

Its upper parts are primarily olive green, with a rufous crown. Its underparts are light cream. During the mating season, the male has long central tail feathers, but otherwise, both sexes look similar.

The only distinguishing feature between male and female tailorbirds is the length of their tail. Younger ones have a duller appearance, and the common tailorbird is vibrantly colored with an erect tail.

How cute are they?

This passerine bird is quite cute and dainty. It can create an intricate nest which makes it intriguing to observe. Its petite body and somber hues give it a charming appearance.

How do they communicate?

They are songbirds who communicate through song, calls, or physical displays. The basic tailorbird sound goes 'cheeup-cheeup-cheeup' but this sound varies by species. Their disyllabic calls are recurrent.

How big is a tailorbird?

Tailorbirds, such as the common tailorbird, are between 3.9-5.5 in (10-14 cm) long.

How fast can a tailorbird fly?

This bird is known to be quite fast, but its exact speed is unknown.

How much does a tailorbird weigh?

This bird can weigh anywhere in the range of 0.21-0.35 oz (6-10 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for males and females of this species.

What would you call a baby tailorbird?

A baby tailorbird is called a chick.

What do they eat?

These birds, like other warblers, feed on tiny invertebrates and insects which are abundant in their tropical environment. They use their bill to remove bugs, beetles, spiders, and caterpillars from leaves and branches as they creep through the undergrowth. This bird can also reach deep inside flowerheads to sip the sweet nectar.

Are they friendly?

They are wild birds who maintain a certain distance from humans as we pose a natural threat to them. They are naturally shy creatures.

Would they make a good pet?

According to the Wildlife Protection Act they cannot be kept as pets. However, if you provide a perfect environment, they might become a visitor to your garden or maybe even build a nest there!

Did you know...

The common tailorbird's Latin name, 'sutorius', means 'cobbler' instead of 'tailor', whereas 'Orthotomus' means ‘straight cutting’.

They are drawn to insects on flowers and have been observed to prefer mango inflorescences.

Types of tailorbird

There are 13 species in the genus Orthotomus. Some of these are the common tailorbird, the Philippine tailorbird, the Rufou-tailed tailorbird, and many more.  

How did the tailorbird get its name?

They acquire their name from their technique of sewing leaves to build their nests. To build a cradle in which the real grass nest is created, the edges of a big leaf are perforated and sewn together with plant fiber or a spider's web.

With its slender beak, the common tailorbird punches several holes in the leaf, then pulls insect silk, plant fiber, or household thread through these holes to create separate loops that are tied on the exterior. As it stitches these fibers together to make a woven nest, a cradle is formed, in which the grass nest is laid.

This nest does not have a specific name. Amazing!

Is a weaver bird the same as a tailorbird?

No, a weaver bird is not the same as a tailorbird. The weaverbird belongs to the family Ploceidae whereas the tailorbird belongs to the family Cisticolidae. Both of them are of the same order Passeriformes.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the summer tanager, or the least tern.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Tailorbird coloring pages.

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Written by Rhea Nischal

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

Rhea Nischal picture

Rhea NischalBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Management

A background in Business Administration and Management from MCM DAV College, Rhea has led her to work for her father's global business. However, her passion for content production, where she manages operations to ensure all processes run smoothly. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her one-year-old nephew.

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Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel

Bachelor of Business Management

Yashvee Patel picture

Yashvee PatelBachelor of Business Management

Yashvee has won awards for both her writing and badminton skills. She holds a business administration honors degree and has previously interned with social media clients and worked on content for an international student festival. Yashvee has excelled in academic competitions, ranking in the top 100 in the Unified International English Olympiad and placing second in an essay-writing competition. Additionally, she has won the inter-school singles badminton title for two consecutive years.

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