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A basket style nest

A nest is a place of refuge to hold an animal's egg and/or provide a place to live or raise offspring. They are usually made of some organic material such as twigs, grass, and leaves; or may simply be a depression in the ground, or a hole in a tree, rock or building. Human-made materials, such as string, plastic, cloth, hair or paper, may be used.

Generally each species has a distinctive style of nest. Nests can be found in many different habitats. They are built primarily by birds, but also by mammals (e.g. squirrels), fish, insects (e.g. wasps and termites) and reptiles (e.g. snakes and turtles).

The urge to prepare an area for the building of a nest is referred to as the nesting instinct and may occur in both mammals and birds.

Bird nest

Most species of birds build some sort of nest, though some lay their eggs directly onto rock ledges or bare soil without first modifying the area.

Nest types vary from the very simple scrape, which is merely a shallow depression in soil or vegetation, to the elaborately woven pendant or sphere. Some birds will build nests in trees, some (such as vultures, eagles, and many seabirds like Kittiwakes) will build them on rocky ledges, and others nest on the ground or in burrows.

They may have some or all of the following zones: attachment; outer decorative layer; structural layer; lining.

Names of nests


Image:Bird nest in grass.jpg|Nest in grassImage:Inside a nest.jpg|The inside of a bird's nestImage:redwing_nest.jpg|Redwings typically make ground nestsImage:Swallownest1.jpg|Mud nests made by swallowsImage:Bald eagle nesting.JPG|Female Bald Eagle on nest with eggImage:Nest_lamp.jpg|A nest in a lampImage:Nest_bird.jpg|A bird building a basket nestImage:PMontezumaNests03.jpg|Colonial pendant nests of Montezuma OropendolaImage:Wasp_starting_nest.jpg|Wasp starting a nestImage:nest_insect_wilcannia.jpg|Insect nest in culvert, Wilcannia, New South Walesmarker AustraliaImage:Squirrels drey.JPG|Eastern gray squirrel's drey in South Nottinghamshiremarker, EnglandmarkerImage:Termite-nest-Tulum-Mexico.jpg|A termite nest in MexicomarkerImage:Nest of Oriental Turtle Dove.JPG|Oriental Turtle Dove, exposed after leaf fall, Chibamarker, Japan


  • Hansell, Bird nests and construction behaviour, CUP 2005, ISBN 0-521-01764-5

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