Types of Bird Nests (燕窝)
All bird nests share similar nutritional and medicinal values, but the nests are not exactly the same. There are
certain features that make each bird nest distinct. As such, bird nests can be grouped into different types and
categories based on certain criteria such as where they live and the species of the Swiftlets that build the
Bird Nest Classification by Habitat of Swiftlets
Habitat of Swiftlets refers to the place where the birds live their life and raise their young ones. Bird nests can
be categorized based on the habitat where the nests are found.
Cave Bird Nests
Many Swiftlets build their nests in caves in order to prevent their eggs and young ones from predators. Many cave
nests are often collected from natural caves located in the island of Borneo in tow Malaysian states which are
eastern Sarawak and Sabah.
Swiftlets build their cave nests across the states in various national parks, coastal islands as well as forests
reserves. Some of the caves that are widely known are located in Tinjar, Baram, Niah and Kakus. While the caves
where Swiftlets build their nests have different size and heights, most of the caves are often found on high cliffs
and face the sea.
House Bird Nests
Some Swiftlets prefer to build their nests close to where humans live, mostly in the countryside. Many people
believe that Swiftlets nests in their houses are indication of good omen. Some people even abandon their houses in
order to encourage Swiftlets to take over the house and build their nests.
Classification by Species of Swiftlets
Edible bird nests are the nests of Swiftlets, a bird that belongs to the same family as Swallows. However, only
three species of Swallows produce bird nests that are edible, nutritious, and medicinal.
Collocalia Fuchipaga Species
Collocalia Fuchipaga is Swiftlets that produce white bird nests which are considered as the highest grade of bird
nests. These Swiftlets uses saliva to build up to 87%-97% of its entire nests. The saliva is used as gelatinous
strands in the nest. This type of bird nest is the most popular in the market and they are sold in one
Collocalia Esculanta Species
Collocalia Esculanta refers to Swiftlets that build their nests with leaves and saliva. The birds often prefer pine
leaves and uses its saliva to glue the leaves together. The nest is often made up of 5%-15% of the bird saliva.
This type of bird nest is edible and safe. The nest has a grayish
color, it’s transparent and glossy.
Collocalia Maxima Species
This specie of swiftlets build their nests mostly with their feathers as they molt. The feathers are glued together
with the bird’s saliva. As such, the nest is often made up of 5%-15% saliva. The nests are often creamy in color,
appear dull and have a glossy feel.
Bird Nest Classification by Color
Also, bird nests can be classified by their colors. There are three major colors of bird nests; red, white and
Red Bird Nests:
are nests that have a bright red color. Red nests are harvested once or twice annually and constitute about 5% of
all bird nests in the market. Due to their scarcity they are often the most expensive.
White Bird Nests:
white nests are built with the saliva of Swiftlets who have never mated before (virgin Swiftlets). White nests are
the most common bird nests in the market.
Yellow Bird Nests:
yellow nests are produced by the same species that produce the white nests. But they are produced by Swiftlets that
have mated before.