13 birds with mud nests [With Images]

birds with mud nests
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There are around 11,000 species of birds in the world and all of these species have some unique qualities. for example, if we look at their nest; some birds like to make nests on the ground while others prefer trees or cliffs for their nests. Similarly, birds use different materials to build their nests. these materials include twigs, leaves, grass, spider webs, and even mud. The question we are here to answer is which birds build mud nests. there are several species of birds with mud nests. These include American flamingos as well as swallows, martins, magpies, thrushes, and choughs. Some of these birds may construct their nests totally out of mud, while others will combine other materials and utilize the mud to fortify and give their nests a sturdy framework.
Let’s examine the numerous methods used by birds to construct their mud nests.

List of birds with mud nests

  • Common House Martin
  • Apostlebird
  • Barn Swallow
  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Purple Martin
  • American Flamingo
  • Black Phoebe
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Hamerkops
  • Rufous Hornero
  • Spotted Morning Thrush
  • White-Winged Chough

1. Common House Martin

  • Scientific name: Delichon urbicum
  • Lifespan: 10 and 14 years
  • Size: 5 in
  • Native to: Europe, North Africa, and across the Palearctic

House Martins are migratory birds that migrate to warmer areas for the winter and then return to their summer habitats in the spring. These tiny birds enjoy constructing their nests on porch ceilings, ledges, or other high surfaces. They may utilize mosses located close to water sources or mud from moist soil to create their nest.
In the early morning hours of every day, adult House Martins will fly about gathering twigs, grasses, feathers, and downy things. They may use nests from year to year and their nests are often constructed in protected sites like houses, sheds, or trees.

2. Apostlebird

  • Scientific name: Struthidea cinerea
  • Lifespan:  20 to 25 years 
  • Size: 13 in
  • Native to: Australia

The Apostlebird also known as the grey jumper is native to Australia. The bird has a grey plunge and is known for its quickness and acrobatics. They normally roam the woodlands in groups of 12 and feed on inThe apostlebird is extremely distinctive in that it forms breeding groups of up to 12 birds, all of whom will build their nests together. There is a dominant male, several females, and a few young birds in this group.

These birds make bowl-shaped nests when it’s time for breeding. They make these nests high up on horizontal branches of extremely big trees.

3. Barn Swallow

  • Scientific name: Hirundo rustica
  • Lifespan: about 4 years 
  • Size: 7 in
  • Native to: Africa

Barn swallows may be found mostly in inhabited regions, where they will build their nests in sheds, barns, garages, and other man-made buildings. They are incredibly little and often locate a tiny gap to enter a structure. They’ll then construct their nests under the eaves, quite high up.

They typically build their nests from of mud, although they sometimes use grass, twigs, leaves, feathers, and even bits of plastic. These nests are perilously attached to a vertical wall. The nest is built by both the male and female swallows.

4. Black-billed Magpie

  • Scientific name: Pica hudsonia
  • Lifespan: 4-6 years
  • Size: 19 in
  • Native to: North America

Even though black-billed magpies prefer to nest high up in deciduous trees, they may sometimes build nests in abandoned structures. Both the male and female birds work together to build their dome-shaped nests.

Mud, together with a variety of grasses, twigs, leaves, and other plant materials, are only used to construct the bottom half of the nest. The upper portion of the nest is built mostly out of twigs. It’s interesting to note that a couple of magpies may take 50 days to finish building their nest.

5. Purple Martin

birds with mud nests

  • Scientific name: Progne subis
  • Lifespan: about 5 to 7 years 
  • Size: 8 in
  • Native to: eastern North America

In more open spaces, such as meadows and grasslands, purple martins prefer to raise their young. They will construct their nests in hollow trees, on the edge of cliffs, or even in a garden birdhouse. Both male and female purple martins participate in making nests.

To build the foundation of their nest, the birds will first collect twigs, grasses, pine needles, and straw. They then reinforce and keep together their nests using the mud. Purple Martins often nest in groups and colonies.

6. American Flamingo

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  • Scientific name: Phoenicopterus ruber
  • Lifespan:  20 to 30 years
  • Size: 5 feet
  • Native to: Central and South America and the Caribbean

Mud is the main material used in the construction of flamingos’ ground nests. In order to maintain the ideal temperature for the eggs and the chick, they often choose a location that is elevated.

Both male and female flamingos take part in nest construction. They create a pile of mud around their feet by using their bills like shovels to build their nests. Flamingos construct their nests mostly out of mud, although they sometimes use straw, feathers, and stones. These mounds might reach a height of 12 inches.

The female flamingo lay a single egg in a little dip she makes on the top of the nest after it has been built.

7. Black Phoebe

birds with mud nests

  • Scientific name: Pica hudsonia
  • Lifespan: 8 years
  • Size: 6-7 inches
  • Native to: southwest Oregon and California south through Central and South America.

Black phoebes like making their nests beneath building eaves or on the edges of cliffs. Only the female bird of this species will build the nest. Mud is used to build cup-shaped nests. Then, grasses, plants, and even human hair are used to line them. They are really meticulous in making their nests and may take many days to finish their nests.

8. Cliff Swallow with mud nests

  • Scientific name: Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
  • Lifespan: 11 years 
  • Size: 8 in
  • Native to: North America and Central America

Cliff swallows, as the name suggests, construct their nests in ledges and cracks of cliffs. Their nests, which are mostly composed of mud, resemble upside-down igloos. Due to their geographic position, it is much simpler for these birds to build their nests out of mud since they will stick to the cliff wall and not blow away.

These hardworking little birds transport small pellets of mud and clay to their nesting location with their beaks to build the nest. Grass and feathers are then placed on top of the carefully built nests to offer further insulation. In addition, the nest’s inside often has a liner made of grass, leaves, feathers, or even horsehair.

Cliff swallows often build their nests quite tightly together and like to nest in big colonies. These birds often utilize the same nest each year since it takes so much time and works to build each nest.

9. Eastern Phoebe

  • Scientific name: Sayornis phoebe
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Size: 5.5-6.7 in
  • Native to: North America

Eastern phoebes are small birds, native to North America, and has a comparatively larger head for its body. These little birds like to establish their nests on man-made objects like building facades or bridge girders. These birds may also construct their nests directly on the ground.

Both males and females take part in the construction of the nests. These nests are built and then lined with grass and moss to provide a soft surface for the eggs and developing chicks.

10. Hamerkops

birds with mud nest

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  • Scientific name: Scopus umbretta
  • Lifespan: about 20 years
  • Size: 22 in
  • Native to: Most of tropical Africa, Madagascar, and southwest Arabia

Large nests are constructed by these African birds in the forks of big trees. Each nest may weigh up to 110 pounds and have a circumference of around 4.9 feet. These nests are sturdy enough to hold a man in his adult form.

The entry tunnel and ceiling of the nests are both formed of mud. In an attempt to prevent any predators from entering the nest, this tunnel bends upward. Sticks are used to construct the nests, which are then coated with mud to act as insulation.

11.  Rufous Hornero (birds with mud nests)

birds with mud nests

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  • Scientific name: Furnarius rufus
  • Lifespan:  n/a
  • Size: 7–8 in
  • Native to: eastern South America

Rufous Hornero also known as ovenbird is a midsized bird found in Eastern South America. it is the national bird of Argentina and Uruguay. The males are slightly heavier than the females. Moreover, the bird has a brown plunge with a slightly decurved beak which aids in eating insects.

Typically, their breeding season is between August and December. These birds construct their nests on the limbs of tall trees. The nests are formed like domed brick ovens and are largely made of mud and clay. The nest is built jointly by the male and female birds and normally takes around 5 days to complete the nest.

12. Spotted Morning Thrush

birds with mud nests

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  • Scientific name: Cichladusa guttata
  • Lifespan:  n/a
  • Size: 6 in
  • Native to:  Democratic Republic of the Congo, east to Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, and north to Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia

These birds like constructing their nests on heavy branches in big trees. Palm is a favorite place for nesting for spotted morning thrushes. They use mud to build their nests, which they fill with fiber from the bark of trees, grasses, and leaves.

13. White-Winged Chough

birds with mud nests

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  • Scientific name: Corcorax melanorhamphos
  • Lifespan:  16 years 
  • Size: 18 in
  • Native to: eastern Australia

Large White-winged Choughs build their nests in the upper branches of tall trees. Their nests are beautifully cup-shaped and mostly made of mud. These nests are rather deep so that after the chicks hatch, they may develop inside the nests.

Three to five eggs are typically laid by the female chough at a time. They lay Cream-colored eggs with markings ranging from dark brown.


Now that you are aware of the birds that build mud nests, you may allow them to do so in your yard. Apostlebirds, cliff swallows, barn swallows, white-winged choughs, and other species construct entirely mud nests, while some only construct partly mud nests using other necessary components.
However, we hope you’ve learned a lot about how mud nests are made and the kinds of birds that use them. You may let us know if you’ve ever seen a mud nest near your home. If you have any more questions, please leave your thoughtful remarks below.

Also Read: 

Faqs on birds with mud nests

How do birds make mud nests?

Different species have their own way of making mud nests but the principle remains the same for all. They mold mud or wet dirt into small ball-like shapes with the help of their beaks, carry it to their nesting sites, and place it around the edges.

Do sparrows build mud nests?

To create a bowl-shaped nest, the sparrows utilize adjacent earth, grass, moss, leaves, or bark. After that, sparrows will line their nests with soft materials like hair or feathers to provide further protection against chilly weather.

Where do phoebes build nests?

Phoebes prefer to make their nests in cavities, such as old woodpecker holes, abandoned structures, such as barns, beneath overhangs, or sheds, but they will also use nest boxes that people have provided for them.

When do birds lay their eggs?

The kind of bird determines when they lay their eggs, which might vary greatly by season. Some birds begin to lay eggs in February, while others wait until the end of spring or the beginning of summer. For instance, whereas cardinals might begin as early as March or as late as May, robins normally lay their first egg in April.

Do robins build their nests out of the mud?

The magnificent nest that robins construct from twigs and grasses is widely known. In order to make their nest more comfortable for themselves and their eggs, they are also widely known for lining the bottom with mud.

I'm Nauman Afridi, the bird enthusiast behind Birdsology.com. My lifelong passion for birds has led me to create a space where fellow bird lovers can find valuable insights and tips on caring for our feathered friends.Professionally, I'm a brand strategist and digital marketing consultant, bringing a unique perspective to the world of bird care. Whether you're a novice or an experienced bird owner, Birdsology.com is designed to be a welcoming community for all.Feel free to explore, and reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat about birds.
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