Western Bowerbird

Did you know?

Their bowers may be decorated with many things the male finds attractive. The decorations in one bower found near Alice Springs weighed 7.4 kg with 1427 bone fragments, many snail shells, pebbles and bits of glass - and white is right.

Calls
Churring, hissing and grating calls, with mimicry of bird calls and other sounds.
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
25cm
Maximum Size: 
28cm
Average size: 
27cm
Average weight: 
140g
Breeding season: 
July - February
Clutch Size: 
Two.
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
WA: 
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Atlas Number: 
681
What does it look like?
Description: 

This is a medium-sized stocky bowerbird with a rounded head and rather long neck. Adults are mainly dark on the head, neck and upper body, heavily marked with buff to rufous spots. The yellowish underbody has reddish scalloping. Males have a pink nuchal crest, smaller in females. The bill is slightly down-curved, hooked at the tip. Long legs are feathered at the top, looking like warm trousers. They are also known as the Spotted Bowerbird or Mimic-bird.

Similar species: 

The Western Bowerbird is similar to the Spotted Bowerbird C. maculata, though it is slightly smaller and darker, particulary on the head and neck, and with a slightly shorter tail. The bill is shorter and less curved.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

This bowerbird is endemic (found only there) to Central Australia and mid-central inland and semi-arid Western Australia.

Habitat: 

Western Bowerbirds are found in open riverine woodland and shrub thickets in arid zones, in rocky gorges and ranges, near water. They also visit gardens, parks and camping areas.

Seasonal movements: 

Though they may move about locally searching for fruit and water they are thought to be resident or sedentary.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

Bowerbirds forage in shrubs or trees for fruit and hop busily across the ground, searching for fruit, insects and seeds. They particularly like Rock Figs.

Breeding: 

Females alone build the nest, incubate and care for the young. The nest (which is not the bower) is built in a shrub or tree and is a shallow bowl of twigs, sticks and dry vine tendrils, lined with finer materials. LIttle is known about their breeding cycle. Males are promiscuous, trying to attract many mates with their bowers, which are quite big avenues of sticks and grass stems. The decorations are mainly white and green and the males spend a lot of time collecting and arranging their finds: bones, shells, seed-pods, small stones and things found in gardens. The male displays at his bowers, with an amazing performance of churring sounds and mimicry, flicking his wings and showing his bright pink nuchal crest.

Living with us

Bowerbirds can be a nuisance in gardens and orchards and are occasionally shot illegally as pests.

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