Blue Bloods: The Satin Bowerbird

Probably the most well known of the 8 Bowerbird species found in Australia, the Satin Bowerbirds, specifically the males are notorious for their love of blue things.  There is much more to these birds though. The adult male has that striking glossy blue-black plumage, and a violet-blue eye. The colour is even more impressive under UV lights (which birds are able to see). Younger males and females are similar in colour to each other, and are collectively referred to as 'green' birds. They are often confused with Catbirds. Young males are not completely blue until they turn 7.


Males construct their bower, not as a nest, but as a bachelor pad – a place to impress the ladies! There are usually multiple bowers found in an area (called a lek) and the competing males all try to attract the attention of visiting females. Their bowers are always constructed on the ground in a north-south direction and they use interlaced sticks. Blue flowers, berries, bottle tops, pens, pegs and basically anything blue they can find are laid carefully around the bower. Once he attracts a female with his decorating skills, he also performs a ritualistic dance. If she is impressed, she will mate with him but that is where their relationship ends. He waits for the next female to come along, she goes off and builds a nest and raised her young (usually a clutch of 2 or 3), alone.

Read more about Satin Bowerbirds here: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Ptilonorhynchus-violaceus

 

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