Bowerbirds make up the family Ptilonorhynchidae, which contains 8 genera, all of which are polygynous apart from the genus Ailuroedus. This 20-species strong family is best known for the behaviour of its males, who build and decorate spectacular shelters known as ‘bowers’ in order to attract potential mates. These bowers may take as long as 10 months to complete, and often picky females will visit and revisit many before deciding on the most suitable. Often each species will show a particular style - for example, the Tooth-billed Bowerbird decorates his stage with overturned fresh green leaves. Most of the species are sexually dimorphic, though there are exceptions, and some (such as MacGregor’s Bowerbird) are superb vocal mimics. These passerines are native to Australia and New Guinea. 

The Vogelkop Bowerbird (shown above) is perhaps the most ambitious; his drab olive colouring is countered by the elaborate bower he builds. Many times the size of the actual bird, the hut-like structure is complete with a ‘lawn’ of moss and a large number of artistically arranged items. Unusually, there is no common ‘trend’ amongst Vogelkop Bowerbirds - the emphasis instead is on ‘novelty value’, which often leads to theft between bowers of particularly desirable items. The sexes are very similar, though the male is slightly larger than the female.

The Satin Bowerbird is sexually dimorphic, however. The male is an iridescent black, and though the female is more dull, her violet eyes are striking. These birds tend to focus on orange and blue decorations for their displays, with the focus turning more towards blue as they mature. 


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tagged as: bowerbird. bower bird. ornithology. biology. courtship. display. bird. animal. science. bower. zoology.

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    …Just read about this in one of my design books tonight. I thought it was amazing, so I had to share.
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    Skies I love me some Bowerbirds! Always fun to see these guys hopping about. One word to accurately describe any/most of...
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    I always wonder what blue looks like to a bowerbird that makes them feel so passionately about it.
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