Stories to tell – The uninvited guests

It’s birding time , November, the beginning of the so called “ dry season “  therefore we started the navigation downstrean on the Napo River, Upper Amazon to Sani Lodge. This is the season when the trees are full covered with long nests from where weaver birds emerge with bright, vivid colours that contrast the evergreen forest and the blue of the sky.

Upon arriving to Sani is hard not to get astonished by the number of colonies of weaver birds who are uninvited but welcome guests at the lodge. They build their nests around the gardens and play an important role to make us enjoy a symphonic water drop wake up at dawn.

Imagen propiedad de

Handicrafts or Beakcrafts

Making a basket by hand is very complicated, so I assume how difficult it must be to use the legs and the beak. Through the telescope, we observed that weavers have a strong conical beak, which they use to cut grass blades as well as strips of palm leaves that, once dried, turned into a strong and resistant material. Impressive how they tied knots from branch to branch to secure the nest to avoid being knocked down to the ground by strong winds.

Aracaris vs. wasps

The next day, we headed towards the canopy tower for an amazing morning with 40 species of birds besides one of the most impressive sights ever,  the attack of a wasp nest by a flock of Many-banded Aracari who totally bewildered were easy prey for the little toucans in a National Geographic shot.

Back to the lodge for lunch, we got a break before the PM excursión. My traveling companion and I decided to sit at the meeting point to watch live the natural history of one of the medium-sized, bright yellow, ivory-billed, blue-iris weaver birds known as the yellow-rumped cacique who had built her nest on a tree near the wasps.


After watching the wasp attack in the morning, we realized that symbiotic relationships are key survival strategies in the Amazonian forest, in which prey-predator relationships happen every minute; thus, the fact that the cacique built its nest close to the wasps is not a random occurrence.

Cacique nests can be attacked by monkeys, birds, snakes, and rodents, the cheeks can be parasitized by flies, while the wasps can be preyed upon by toucans, caracaras, and even army ants, that´s why under any threat circumstance, both species will come out to defend their nests regardless of the predator’s target in a mutualism relationship developed over millions of years of evolution.

The next day, during a canoe ride exploring the flooded forest, we found more cacique nests built symbiotically with wasps of the genus Polybia, as well as Aztec ants. We looked at each other, my traveling companion wondering what the relationship was with this third actor, but it is birding time, our guide said, pointing out the vertebrate, White-shouldered antbird…

About Author

Sani Lodge
In our trips, you have the opportunity to explore untouched forests, understand the intrinsic relationships among plants and animals, search for stunning flora and fauna and learn from ancient cultures: the true treasures of the Amazon Rainforest. When you stay with us, you become part of our extended community where we share and teach you about our environment and culture. At Sani Lodge, you are not only choosing an amazing adventure, but also the opportunity to immerse yourself in our Amazon Kichwa lifestyle. Come and join us, support our indigenous community and the Rainforest conservation that you will love to call it home.


Deja una respuesta