Satin Bower Bird
Male Satin Bower Bird at the bower entrance
with a collection of blue and yellow "display-things"
About the bird :
What's a Satin Bower Bird?
Bower: a shady leafy shelter or recess, as in a wood
or garden[Collins English Dictionary]. The bower bird gets
its name from the thatched structure (bower) built by the male
as part of its courtship rituals. The bird defends a court or
platform where it builds a bower and spends most of its time displaying
and titivating. The bower is constructed in the undergrowth from
twigs and coarse grass, and may be as much as 3 feet across and
several inches thick.
So what? Sounds dull.
Adjacent to the bower, usually at the entrance, is a platform
on which is placed a collection of coloured displaythings. The
Satin Bower Bird has a preference for blue objects that match
its own blue, satin-like plumage. Before Europeans arrived these
consisted mainly of flowers, berries and feathers, but since then
the Bird has had a field day with the caps of ball-point pens,
crockery, rubber, clothing, paper, pegs and bottle tops.
Extinction of Blue Milk Bottle
The discarded rings from 2 litre milk bottles are particularly
dangerous to the bower bird as they can get caught around the
bird's neck. For this reason, most milk tops are no longer made
of blue plastic.
The Palace of Love.
Bowers are used for 9 months of the year, during which they
are continually being partially dismantled and rebuilt. During
spring the adult male may spend nearly the whole of each day in
his bower preparing for courtship. When the female arrives, he
performs an elaborate display at the entrance as she approaches.
Mating usually takes place inside the bower.
Where do Satin Bower Birds Live?
Bower birds come from Australia and New Guinea. The Satin
Bower Bird lives in the wetter parts of the forests of the eastern
seaboard from Victoria to South-East Queensland.
Bower birds are naturally territorial. Neighbouring birds
may pilfer decorations from each other and even attempt to trash
What the Bower Bird Likes to
Various berries, fruits and insects. They sometimes visit
orchards and back yards during the non-Bower building part of
What the Bower Bird Likes to
do in its Spare Time
Hide/display/titivate, or just lounge around the bower with
Bower birds do like : bowers, trees, food, sex,
Bower birds do not like : cats, long weekends,
mobile phones, nuclear tests
Australian Birdlife Illustrated, by Malcom McNaughton, Rigby,
Bird Life, by Ian Rowley, Collins, 1975
This page courtesy of:
The CSIRO Division of Applied Physics sponsors the Satin Bower
Bird at Taronga Zoo under the zoo's Animal Sponsorship Scheme.
The sponsorship program contributes to the zoo's food and veterinary
costs, as well as their work in conservation and education.
Sponsorship involves a contribution of somewhere between $50 and
$100. Robin Shelley-Jones has been responsible for raising this
money around the division for the last few years (thanks Robin!).
The fate of our shy and feathered friend now rests with me. If
you have any comments about this page, or would like to make a
donation, please come and see me in D262, phone 7302, or email:
Satin Bower Bird/CSIROemail@example.com/18th October,
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