Friday, 19 November 2010

Bowerbirds - love-making in the love nest!

Well, today I really had a 'David Attenborough' moment in the garden.  Perhaps the Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus has become comfortable with me having my lunch nearby and coming to inspect his bower.  Or maybe he isn't as shy as he has been making out!  Anyhow, after waiting around near the bower for a while and taking some photos of the beautiful Bottlebrush flowers nearby (which I will save for another post) I sensed a little activity around the bower... sure enough, there was a female Satin Bowerbird sitting in the bower!
The male was nearby and he came closer, beginning an amazing ritual.  He made some fantastic whirring and chirping noises as he hopped about a little then stood still, fanning out his tail.  He paraded in this way very slowly around the bower, watched by the female, who occasionally lowered herself, looked around at him and inspected the bower.  A couple of times she left the bower and he re-arranged a few of the blue bottle-tops, all the while making some elaborate calls and with a very 'macho' stance!  In fact, perhaps I will name him 'Austin Bowerbird'!

Now, for the very exciting part - I captured these moments of Bowerbird passion on video!!  So I can share this amazing spectacle with you all.  In this first video you can see and hear the elaborate dance the male makes.  He then stood still and posed for a while making some quieter noises. 

The female then wandered off for a bit, so Austin Bowerbird decided perhaps he needed to make a few adjustments to the love-nest: he re-arranged a few of the blue bottle tops and then hopped off towards the female with one - perhaps a gift for her?

Finally, the moment of passion arrived! 


  1. Great series of images and videos.
    Thanks for sharing them.
    All that wing flapping must explain why the bowers are always wide in the middle.
    Thank you.

  2. That's amazing! I envy you your lunch spot!! Although we have baby Willy Wagtails just out of the nest, you can't beat the bowerbird for showmanship!

    Happy travels!!

  3. Hi Hazel,
    In the past week we have had a lady freelance writer that does work for an Italian Architecture magazine contact us at the Atlas of Living Australia about photos, etc. of bowerbirds. She is hoping to write an article about them, for the next edition. Can I pass on your blog and email (at work) details. I have provided her with my partner's photos which are very similar.

  4. Hi Robyn, sure thats fine to send her my details - thanks! Would be interested to see your partner's photos of the bowerbird, is it the same one that is in the ANBG? Hazel

  5. Thanks Hazel, might send her this link later today. Yes, it's the same bower.
    Here are Leo's pictures, from I think, last year.

  6. Wow Leo's pictures are great, really sharp! The light was very bright when i took these so not as clear as I'd like.