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Edible Nests

Perhaps the strangest nests of all are those built by the species of Swiftlet in the genus Collocalia. They nest in caves and build their nests of saliva. To do this they have enlarged salivary glands during the breeding season. To make them even more amazing, these Swiflets often nest in pitch dark caves. They are able to do this by using echolocation, similar to bats. Quite a few species use saliva in their nests to glue various materials together. Three species however, Collocalia fuciphaga, Collocalia esculenta and Collocalia maxima, produce nests made almost entirely, or entirely, out of saliva. These are the nests used by Chinese chefs to prepare bird nest soup, one of the more expensive and tasteless dishes in the world. The nests are collected from Niah caves and though collecting is controlled by law, it still results in a huge and unnecessary death of eggs and young birds.

 

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This search facility allows you to search EcoPort directly without having to navigate the more detailed EcoPort menu. EcoPort contains record structures for all birds of the world, and can be searched on scientific or common name in any language (provided it has already been entered). As the bird entities in this knowledge system are relatively new, most records will consist of the scientific name, some taxonomic information, and at least one common name only. This facility can be used to search for any entity type in EcoPort e.g. plants, insects, fungi, bacteria, mammals, birds, and spiders.


Last updated: 01 January 2003