Sunday, April 26, 2015

Satin Bowerbird

When I started birding in Australia there were three birds that I wanted to see; Kookaburra, Satin Bowerbird and the Lyre bird. I have already posted about the Kookaburra, today is the turn of the Bowerbird. To my dismay, I did not sight a male Satin bowerbird ( Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) - but was quite delighted seeing a female. Bowerbirds themselves are quite drab looking birds, nothing eye catching about their appearance or colour. But what is quite fascinating, is what the male does to woo the female. The male builds an elaborate structure and decorates it with various artifacts- they could be anything raging from shells, petals, parrot feathers, berries to mirror pieces, ball pens, clips and other man made objects. They however prefer objects with blue colour or even the ones that shine. Once the structure ( called bower) is built the female inspects it and if she likes it mates with the builder. What the male has built is actually not a nest- but just a structure. The female now has to build her own nest and lay her eggs- while the male goes his merry ways.
I did not spot a bower in the wild, however I did see one in the Natural History museum at Sydney. The third photograph is from this place, and displays a bower with two stuffed birds.