Bowerbirds

There are eight endemic species of bowerbirds in Australia, with a further two also found in New Guinea. In all bower-building species, the male constructs, decorates and maintains the bower, which he uses to attract females for mating. The bower is wrongly referred to by most people as a nest. The nest, in most species, is a loose construction of twigs built by the female. Four basic types of bowers have been described for the different groups: the ‘court’, the ‘mat’, the ‘avenue’, and the ‘maypole’.

Scientific name: Ptilonorhynchidae (family)

Great Bowerbird

Found across northern Australia, this dull, fawn-coloured bird with darker mottled upperparts inhabits the rainforest fringes, drier eucalypt forest and riverine woodlands.  The striking lilac crest, situated on the rear of the neck, is revealed only during courtship display, and much reduced or absent in the female.  The male constructs a large bower, with two parallel, interwoven stick walls, which i...

Green Catbird

Ailuroedus crassirostris The Green Catbird is a robust bird (29 to 34 cm) with bright green wings and tail, a pale white bill and a red iris. Both sexes have distinct white-spots on the otherwise green underparts, and a dusky crown, nape and face. The lack of blackish ear coverts and the uniform bright green plumage of the larger Green Catbird distinguish it from the Spotted Catbird. It has strong...

Regent Bowerbird

Sericulus chrysocephalus The Regent Bowerbird is a relatively small, slender bowerbird. It has a long, straight thin bill, which is yellow in the adult male and dark brown in the female. Both sexes are generally inconspicuous, which is surprising given the male’s striking plumage. The majority of the body is deep velvety black, with rich golden yellow plumage on the head, nape and wings. The y...

Spotted Catbird

Ailuroedus melanotis The Spotted, or Black-eared, Catbird inhabits the tropical rainforests of north-eastern Queensland, Australia, and is also found throughout New Guinea. It is a large, secretive, solid green, dark-headed bird with a red iris and a stout pale bill. It has long powerful legs and bounds from branch to branch in search for food. Feeding birds are quite difficult to detect because...

Western Bowerbird

Ptilonorhynchus guttatus The Western Bowerbird feeds mainly on fruits, including those of the Rock Fig ( Ficus platypoda ), Sandalwood ( Santalum spicatum ), Snake Gourd (T richosanthes cucumerina ) and mistletoe (family Loranthaceae). Other foods include nectar, flowers ( Acacia spp.), insects such as moths, ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and spiders. The Western Bowerbird drinks regularly...