Penduline Tits Create A Fake Entrance To Its Nest To Trick Predators

The penduline tits (Remiz pendulinus) construct an amazingly genius nest. The name, penduline, refers to the hanging bag nests that the bird builds for its eggs. While the shape and form of the nest are quite impressive just by themselves, it also has a very unique and important defense mechanism: a hidden entrance.

Penduline tits’ nest has a important defense mechanism: a hidden entrance

penduline tits
Image credit: Tomasz Przechlewski & Michele Lamberti

Penduline tits mostly live in Eurasia, Africa, and North America. They range from 3 to 4,3 inches (7.5 to 11 centimeters) in length and sport a brown back, gray head, and a distinctive black mask. The markings of some subspecies could also include other colors as well. For example, the European penduline tit has black and chestnut markings.

They build pear-shaped nests on the branches of willow or birch trees. First, the male begins the construction of the nest by attaching plant fibers and fluffy seeds to the twigs and branches. Then, with the help of the female, they vow the other parts of the pouch-like nest with spiderweb, wool, animal hair, and other soft plant material. The result is a very elaborate nest that is suspended from the tree.

Their nests incorporate a fake entrance right above the real opening

Thanks to this clever design, penduline tits protect their eggs and themselves. This false entrance leads to an empty chamber. The birds can enter the real nesting chamber by opening a hidden door. Since this flap is partly composed of sticky spider webs, they can easily close it from the inside after they enter, or when they are leaving the nest. When a predator tries to enter the nest of the penduline tit, it’s gonna find itself in an empty pouch of the nest.

penduline tits
Image credit: Daniele Colombo
Image credit: António Pena