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Did you know? Thieving Bowerbirds go Courting 📽

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

Bowerbirds from Australia and New Guinea use twigs and leaves to build structures known as “bowers”. Unlike nests, bowers are more intended for showing off the male species' surroundings to attract female Bowerbirds during mating season. Each male bird builds a different structure, ranging from leaf-strewn stages to maypoles and large tents. More colourful is better to get the females attention, using parrot feathers, leaves, flower petals and more, especially human refuse that is brightly coloured such as straws, bottletops, plastic cuttlery and much more. As the males mature with a striking glossy blue-black plumage they use more blue objects than other colours to show themselves off.

Male Satin Bowerbird in his bower - Wikimedia Commons

The bowers and their decorations are considered “secondary sexual characteristics”, similar to the peacock’s ostentatious tail or the plumes of a bird of paradise. The bower is a display area for the often brightly coloured males. They flare their plumage, prance in postures of begging or aggression and emit a variety of calls to attract females. The rather dull light brown coloured female Bowerbird judges a male’s suitability by the quality of being full of energy, excitement and cheerfulness in his showing and that of his bower, the indication of his fitness as a father. The female Bowerbird visits several bowers to make sure they choose the best mates.

Female satin Bowerbird - flickr

To impress his mate to be, the male Bowerbird collects his objects - mainly blue material for extra attention - scattering them in front of his bower, built of two parallel walls of twigs. Some males not only steal from their neighbours, they even destroy their bowers to rule out the competition. Those that retain both their bowers and ornaments are those that dominate other males.

Satin Bowerbird's bower - Wikimedia Commons

We recommend the following You Tube Video:

📽 Bowerbird Woos Female with Ring | World's Weirdest - Nat Geo WILD (2:07)

Dear Reader, we hope you enjoyed the second blog of our series “Did you know...” Please comment if you like and/or re-share.

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Readers Digest Australia Publication, 1995 “Intelligence in Animals” (viewed 24.02.2018)


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