Sunday Inspiration – Australian Birds

Here are three more families of Passerine birds. Today’s three families live mostly in the Austro-Papuan (Australia, New Guinea, Paupa) vicinity.

Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) in bower by Ian

Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) in bower by Ian

My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. (Proverbs 1:10 NKJV)

The Ptilonorhynchidae – Bowerbirds are renowned for their unique courtship behaviour, where males build a structure and decorate it with sticks and brightly coloured objects in an attempt to attract a mate.

Their diet consists mainly of fruit but may also include insects (especially for nestlings), flowers, nectar and leaves in some species. The satin and spotted bowerbirds are sometimes considered agricultural pests due to their habit of feeding on introduced fruit and vegetable crops and have occasionally been killed by affected orchardists.

White-browed Treecreeper (Climacteris affinis) by Ian

White-browed Treecreeper (Climacteris affinis) by Ian

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. (Romans 12:9 NKJV)

The Climacteridae – Australasian Treecreepers are separate from the European Treecreeper family, which will be highlighted later. As their name implies, treecreepers forage for insects and other small creatures living on and under the bark of trees, mostly eucalypts, though several species also hunt on the ground, through leaf-litter, and on fallen timber. Unlike the Holarctic treecreepers they do not use their tail for support when climbing tree trunks, only their feet.

Variegated Fairywren (Malurus lamberti) ©WikiC

Variegated Fairywren (Malurus lamberti) ©WikiC

Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created. (Psalms 148:5 NKJV)

The Maluridae – Australasian Wrens are a family of small, insectivorous passerine birds endemic to Australia and New Guinea. Commonly known as wrens, they are unrelated to the true wrens of the Northern Hemisphere. The family includes 14 species of fairywren, 3 emu-wrens, and 10 grasswrens.

Malurids are small to medium birds, inhabiting a wide range of environments, from rainforest to desert, although most species inhabit grassland or scrub. The grasswrens are well camouflaged with black and brown patterns, but other species often have brilliantly coloured plumage, especially in the males. They are insectivorous, typically foraging in underbrush. They build domed nests in areas of dense vegetation, and it is not unusual for the young to remain in the nest and assist in raising chicks from later clutches.

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“How Can I Keep From Singing” ~ Pastor Jerry Smith, Jessie and Caleb Padgett and Reagan Osborne

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Sunday Inspiration – There Is A Redeemer

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: (Job 19:25 KJV)

Last week’s Sunday Inspiration – Give Thanks introduced many of you to the Cotinga Family and the Manakin Family. Now you can check out some more of the Lord’s created avian wonders that are in the Tityridae – Tityras, Becards (45), Menuridae – Lyrebirds (2), and Atrichornithidae – Scrubbirds (2).

Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata) ©WikiC

Masked Tityra (Tityra semifasciata) ©WikiC

Tityridae is a family of suboscine passerine birds found in forest and woodland in the Neotropics. The approximately 45 species in this family were formerly spread over the families Tyrannidae, Pipridae and Cotingidae (see Taxonomy). As yet, no widely accepted common name exists for the family, although tityras and allies and tityras, mourners and allies have been used. They are small to medium-sized birds. Under current classification, the family ranges in size from the buff-throated purpletuft, at 9.5 cm (3.75 in) and 10 grams (0.35 oz), to the masked tityra, at up to 22 cm (8.7 in) and 88 grams (3.1 oz). Most have relatively short tails and large heads.

Superb Lyrebird #2

Superb Lyrebird by Ian

A Lyrebird is either of two species of ground-dwelling Australian birds, that form the family Menuridae. They are most notable for their superb ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment. As well as their extraordinary mimicking ability, lyrebirds are notable because of the striking beauty of the male bird’s huge tail when it is fanned out in display; and also because of their courtship display. Lyrebirds have unique plumes of neutral-coloured tailfeathers and are among Australia’s best-known native birds.

The lyrebirds are large passerine birds, amongst the largest in the order. They are ground living birds with strong legs and feet and short rounded wings. They are generally poor fliers and rarely take to the air except for periods of downhill gliding. The superb lyrebird is the larger of the two species. Females are 74–84 cm long, and the males are a larger 80–98 cm long—making them the third-largest passerine bird after the thick-billed raven and the common raven. Albert’s lyrebird is slightly smaller at a maximum of 90 cm (male) and 84 cm (female) (around 30–35 inches) They have smaller, less spectacular lyrate feathers than the superb lyrebird, but are otherwise similar.

Rufous Scrubbird (Atrichornis rufescens) ©Kleran Palmer Flickr

Rufous Scrubbird (Atrichornis rufescens) ©Kleran Palmer Flickr

Scrubbirds are shy, secretive, ground-dwelling birds of the family Atrichornithidae. There are just two species. The rufous scrubbird is rare and very restricted in its range, and the noisy scrubbird is so rare that until 1961 it was thought to be extinct. Both are native to Australia. The scrubbird family is ancient and is understood to be most closely related to the lyrebirds, and probably also the bowerbirds and treecreepers.

Birds of both species are about the same size as a common starling and cryptically coloured in drab browns and blacks. They occupy dense undergrowth and are adept at scuttling mouse-like under cover to avoid notice. They run fast, but their flight is feeble.
The males’ calls, however, are powerful: ringing and metallic, with a ventriloquial quality, so loud as to be heard from a long distance in heavy scrub and almost painful at close range. Females build a domed nest close to the ground and take sole responsibility for raising the young.

Also recently, this site was updated to the I.O.C. Version 5.1.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalms 19:14 KJV)

Watch and listen to a piano solo, “There is a Redeemer,” played by Nell Reese (I think) at Faith Baptist Church last Sunday.

And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. (Psalms 78:35 KJV)

Also:

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Fawn-breasted Bowerbird at Zoo Miami

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird (Chlamydera cerviniventris) Zoo Miami by Lee

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird (Chlamydera cerviniventris) Zoo Miami by Lee

One of the neatest thing to watch on this last trip to the Wings of Asia Aviary at Zoo Miami was the Fawn-breasted Bowerbird working on his bower. “The bower itself is that of “avenue-type” with two sides of wall of sticks and usually decorated with green-colored berries.” In his case, he had green leaves laid out in front.

The Fawn-breasted Bowerbird (Chlamydera cerviniventris) is a medium-sized, up to 13 in (32 cm) long, bowerbird with a greyish brown spotted white plumage, a black bill, dark brown iris, yellow mouth and an orange buff below. Both sexes are similar. The female is slightly smaller than the male.

The Fawn-breasted Bowerbird is distributed in New Guinea and northern Australia, where it inhabits the tropical forests, mangroves, savanna woodlands and forest edges. Its diet consists mainly of figs, fruits and insects. The nest is a loose cup made of small sticks up in a tree. The bower itself is that of “avenue-type” with two sides of wall of sticks and usually decorated with green-colored berries. (Wikipedia with editing)

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird by Dan ZM

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird by Dan ZM

The Bowerbirds are in the Ptilonorhynchidae-Bowerbird Family. There are twenty species in the family, of which, 16 are Bowerbirds.

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Here are two video clips of him working on the bower. Notice how he goes in and out the other end of the bower. Unfortunately we were only able to view it from the side. One shot he is actually placing the stick upright in the ground. (I recorded him for a bit and then Dan came along. As I was explaining it to him, I got tickled, so ignore the snorts.) I was absolutely amazed watching this bird, which the Lord created, knowing how to make his bower chamber.

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Did you notice the birds chirping and singing in the background. It is so peaceful in that aviary. The birds have so much room and places to hang out. You actually “bird watch” there.

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird (Chlamydera cerviniventris) Sign Zoo Miami by Lee

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird (Chlamydera cerviniventris) Sign Zoo Miami by Lee

Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 8:17 NKJV)

This is the sign telling about the Bowerbird and their name for it; a “Seduction Chamber.” We know that the Lord commanded the birds to reproduce and this bird is only following instructions. He builds his bower to entice a female to be his mate.

We were discussing this and several verses came to our minds:

My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. (Proverbs 1:10 NKJV)

And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. (Deuteronomy 13:10 NKJV)

And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mark 13:21-22 KJV)

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. (1 John 2:25-26 KJV)

The Fawn-breasted is fine in what he is doing, but we can learn by watching and taking heed for ourselves.

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: (Job 12:7 KJV)

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Ptilonorhynchidae-Bowerbird Family

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird – Wikipedia

Bowerbirds – Wikipedia

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Tooth-billed Bowerbird II

Tooth-billed Bowerbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) Court by Ian

Tooth-billed Bowerbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) Court by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Tooth-billed Bowerbird ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 10/9/13

At the weekend, I followed some friends for an overnight stay at Paluma, the small village in highland rainforest about 60km north of Townsville. and they took me to view 4 display courts of the Tooth-billed Bowerbird near the village that they had already checked out. This species featured as bird of the week three years ago, but it’s an interesting subject and I got better photos this time. In contrast to some of the bowerbirds, it is sombre in plumage and cryptic in pattern but makes up for this with unique behaviour.

Alone among the promiscuous bowerbirds (the catbirds are monogamous), the male doesn’t build a bower to attract females but has a display platform or court, a cleared space on the forest floor with a central tree trunk or stem and it decorates the court with the leaves of rainforest trees, carefully placed lower side up. The central tree in the first photo is smaller than usual, but I’ve chosen this one as there are signs of the bird having chewed through some offending shoot near to it to keep the space clear. The same court is used from one year to another and the courts of different males may be relatively close proximity (50-100m/yards) to each other in what is called an extended lek. and there were four courts along the path where we were.

Tooth-billed Bowerbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) by Ian

The males sing a strange, loud and varied song with lots of mimicry from perches above the court. So during the breeding season – September to January – they are quite easy to find. The vegetation in their preferred habitat is dense so hearing them is easier than seeing them and seeing them is easier than photographing them: the second photo is a fairly typical view of one through the foliage.

 Tooth-billed Bowerbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) by Ian

When they’re singing, they are fairly approachable and I got quite close to this one before it flew up onto an unencumbered branch above the court and continued singing in full view (third photo). The fourth photo is cropped to show both the toothed edge to the lower mandible and the ridged inside of the upper one, a clever designed mechanism of chewing off leaves. Some while later, at another court we saw a male pick and drop a leaf, which it let fall. It then picked another on and flew off with it in the direction of its court. Apparently, it is not unusual for the birds to steal the leaves of other males, so there is the same competition for accumulating decorations as in other bowerbirds.

Tooth-billed Bowerbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) by Ian

I recorded the calls of three males on my phone and included one of the files below.

Last week, I mentioned a pending Snake of the Week and this aroused some interest, so here it is. I photographed this small whip snake seven years ago in a dry area in far Northwestern Queensland near the border with the Northern Territory. We tried to identify it by consulting a weighty tome on the Reptiles of Australia, but failed to find anything that quite matched it and gave up.

Sombre Whip Snake by Ian

Sombre Whip Snake by Ian

Some years later, I bought the 2008 edition of A Complete Guide to the Reptiles of Australia by Steve Wilson and Gerry Swan. It contains an Appendix which starts: “Late in the preparation of this 2008 revised second edition, a timely study of small tropical whip snakes (Demansia) was published. The work formally recognises additional species of these swift diurnal snakes, some of which have been familiar to herpetologists for many years.” So, there you are: the first time I’ve photographed a yet to be described species of vertebrate; it doesn’t often happen with birds.

I’ve been adding Primates http://www.birdway.com.au/primates/index.htm, Lizards http://www.birdway.com.au/lacertilia/index.htm and Snakes http://www.birdway.com.au/ophidia/index.htm to the Other Wildlife section of the website, hence the interest in snakes.

Best wishes
Ian

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Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

What a neat bird and description of them. Now we not only get to see them, but hear them also. Thanks again, Ian, for allowing me to share these newsletters.

The snake, is interesting also, though I am not a big snake fan. I know most are beneficial and I don’t go out of my way to kill them, I just keep my distance.

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) at National Aviary

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) at National Aviary

Bowerbirds are an interesting group of birds. They belong to the Ptilonorhynchidae – Bowerbirds Family, which has twenty members currently. Looking at the Family page, I realized this is the second time Ian has written about the Tooth-billed Bowerbird. That was in August of 2010.

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird (Chlamydera cerviniventris) Bower at Zoo Miami

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird (Chlamydera cerviniventris) Bower at Zoo Miami

We were able to see the White-eared Catbird at Zoo Miami and at the National Aviary. At Zoo Miami, the keeper showed me the bower of the Fawn-breasted Bowerbird. You can see how he lined his bower with leaves. Unfortunately the birds were off display at the time.

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) – Photo by Lee at Zoo Miami

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) – Photo by Lee at Zoo Miami

Bowerbirds by Ian – Photos

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Tooth-billed Bowerbird – Wikipedia

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Formed By Him – Bowerbirds

Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) in bower by Ian

Satin Bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) in bower by Ian

An interesting article from News to Note – Sept 18, 2010 issue talks about the Bowerbird and it’s ability to use special optical effects. The article is discussing Physorg.com’s information on the elaborate bowers the bird makes.

“Bowerbird males are well known for making elaborate constructions, lavished with decorative objects, to impress and attract their mates. Now, researchers reporting online on September 9 in Current Biology have identified a completely new dimension to these showy structures in great bowerbirds. The birds create a staged scene, only visible from the point of view of their female audience, by placing pebbles, bones, and shells around their courts in a very special way that can make objects (or a bowerbird male) appear larger or smaller than they really are.” (Physorg.com)

The scientist are trying to figure out about this aesthetically appealing ability. They noticed that the bird places articles from smaller to larger as the bower is approached. When they rearranged the articles, the Bowerbird changed them back. He is trying to give an allusion they think.

Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata) by Ian

Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata) by Ian

News to Note concludes with this:

“Evolutionists often seek to find natural explanations for distinct human aspects like aesthetics, moral consciousness, and self-consciousness. The bowerbirds’ apparent art appreciation seems to allow the most genetically fit to survive according to biologist Gerry Borgia of the University of Maryland. But do male bowerbirds intellectually conceive the idea of the optical illusion, and do female bowerbirds intentionally judge the design as artistic?

Rather than an intellectual intention towards art, the great bowerbird instinctively builds remarkable structures, and the female instinctively responds to the optical effect, as programmed by the Creator. Only man, created in the image of God, has a true aesthetic sense. When appreciating the beauty and design of creatures like the bowerbird, the wise aesthetic judge praises the Creator of both art and beauty.”

The two articles are interesting and of course, the one from Answers in Genesis, News to Note – Sept 18, 2010, issue gives the creationist view of this.

From another article:

” the male bower bird, an accomplished avian architect that has long fascinated scientists with its remarkably complex courting behavior. Instead of using just showy plumes or a romantic melody to attract a mate, the pigeon-sized bower bird constructs an elaborate structure — a bower — on the forest floor from twigs, leaves, and moss. It then decorates the bower with colorful baubles, from feathers and pebbles to berries and shells.”

“The bowers aren’t nests for raising kids; they are bachelor pads designed to attract and seduce one or more mates. When a female arrives to inspect the bower, the male struts and sings. He hopes to convince her to enter the bower, where mating takes place….they are of special interest to scientists seeking to understand how such complex traits evolve and function.”

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) at bower by Ian

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) at bower by Ian

“Each builds its own shape of bower and prefers a different decorating scheme. A few, for instance, surround their bowers with carefully planted lawns of moss. Others have been known to steal shiny coins, spoons, bits of aluminum foil — even a glass eye — in an effort to create the perfect romantic mood. Some, like the iridescent blue Satin bower bird, the star of Bower Bird Blues, even “paint” the walls of their structures with chewed berries or charcoal. For the male Satin, which builds a U-shaped bower from parallel walls of twigs, the favored color is blue. To decorate its “avenue,” as scientists call it, he collects blue feathers, berries, shells, and flowers. While some of these decorations are found in the forest, others are stolen from the bowers of other males; young males, in particular, are prone to this petty thievery. However obtained, the precious knickknacks are then scattered around the bower. The male then waits, passing time by constantly fine-tuning his structure and rearranging the decorations. (from Nature)

And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:22 NKJV)

That verse answers it for me. God created them with that “complex trait.”


Information about the Bowerbird:

They are in the Ptilonorhynchidae – Bowerbirds Family of the Passeriformes Order. There are 21 species in the family in 9 different genus. There are 3 Catbirds and an Piopio included in the family.

Bowerbirds and catbirds make up the bird family Ptilonorhynchidae. These are medium-sized passerines, ranging from the Golden Bowerbird (22 cm and 70 grams) to the Great Bowerbird (40 cm and 230 grams). Their diet consists mainly of fruit but may also include insects (fed to young), flowers, nectar and leaves in some species.

The bowerbirds have an Austro-Papuan distribution, with ten species endemic to New Guinea, eight endemic to Australia and two found in both. Although their distribution is centered around the tropical regions of New Guinea and northern Australia, some species extend into central, western and southeastern Australia. They occupy a range of different habitats, including rainforest, eucalyptus and acacia forest, and shrublands.

Bowerbirds are most known for their unique courtship behaviour, where males build a structure and decorate it with sticks and brightly coloured objects in an attempt to attract a mate.

The catbirds are monogamous and raise chicks with their mate, but all other bowerbirds are polygymous, with the female building the nest and raising the young alone. These latter species are commonly sexually dimorphic, with the female being more drab in color. Female bowerbirds build a nest by laying soft materials, such as leaves, ferns, and vine tendrils, on top of a loose foundation of sticks. They lay one or two eggs, which hatch after 19 to 24 days, depending on the species.

The most notable characteristic of bowerbirds is their extraordinarily complex courtship and mating behaviour, where males build a bower to attract mates. There are two main types of bowers. One clade of bowerbirds build so-called maypole bowers that are constructed by placing sticks around a sapling; in some species these bowers have a hut-like roof. The other major bowerbuilding clade builds an avenue type bower made of two walls of vertically placed sticks. In and around the bower the male places a variety of brightly colored objects he has collected. These objects — usually different among each species — may include hundreds of shells, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, berries, and even discarded plastic items, coins, nails, rifle shells, or pieces of glass. The males spend hours arranging this collection. Bowers within a species share a general form but do show significant variation, and the collection of objects reflects the biases of males of each species and its ability to procure items from the habitat, often stealing them from neighboring bowers. Several studies of different species have shown that colors of decorations males use on their bowers match the preferences of females.

In addition, many species of bowerbird are superb vocal mimics. Macgregor’s Bowerbird, for example, has been observed imitating pigs, waterfalls, and human chatter. Satin bowerbirds commonly mimic other local species as part of their courtship display. (Wikipedia)

(Information from various Internet sources.)
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Articles here on the Blog about Bowerbirds:

Golden Bowerbird by A.J.Mithra
Ian’s Bird of the Week:
Tooth-billed Bowerbird
Spotted Bowerbird
Golden Bowerbird

More Formed By Him articles


Family#126 – Ptilonorhynchidae
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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Tooth-billed Bowerbird

Tooth-billed Bowerbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) by Ian

Tooth-billed Bowerbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Tooth-billed Bowerbird ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter 8-20-10

I’m squeezing this bird of the week in between the Birds Australia Congress and Campout, which finished this morning, and my departure for California tomorrow. The Congress and Campout was a great success and ran like clockwork thanks to the preparation, dedication and hard work of our secretary and committee. I had a request from a participant to make the Golden Bowerbird – one of the highlights of the Campout – this week’s bird but this species starred in this role earlier this year. So, instead I’ve chosen the Tooth-billed Bowerbird and included a photo of the Golden Bowerbird, both being endemics of the Queensland wet tropics and inhabiting highland rainforest.

Tooth-billed Bowerbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) by Ian

Tooth-billed Bowerbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) by Ian

It’s not spectacular in appearance like the Golden Bowerbird, but it’s an interesting bird nevertheless. It doesn’t build a bower; instead it has a display platform consisting of an oval cleared space on the ground around a small tree trunk with a suitable branch used as a perch for singing above the platform. It decorates the platform with large, fresh leaves that the bird collects by using its serrated bill to chew through the leaf stem. The second photo shows a bird in full song and you can see the serrations on the bill, from which it gets the name. Like other bowerbirds, it is an accomplished songster and very good a mimicry. It is also fussy. Most bowerbirds are extraordinarily fussy in their choice of objects and colours to decorate the bowers. Tooth-billed Bowerbirds only use leaves, but the leaves are carefully chosen for appearance and laid upside down, with the paler surface uppermost. Apparently, if you turn them up the other way, the bird will put them back the correct way.

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) by Ian

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) by Ian

They usually start attending their display areas in September, so we were a bit early and I don’t think anyone actually saw one, though there were reports of hearing them. There was, however, some early activity and a couple of birds had several leaves in place. At the peak of the season, there may be up to 30 or so leaves, and these are replaced regularly with fresh ones. The Golden Bowerbirds had made an early start to and were decorating their bowers with pieces of lichen. The bird in the third photo, taken last Tuesday, has just added a piece to the bigger pile on the left and he is standing on the display perch between the two piles of twigs – ‘maypoles’ – that make up the typical bower of this species. The display perch is very important as it is where all the real action takes place, and you can see that this one is well worn.

You can expect an American as the next Bird of the Week. I’ve gone right off flying in recent years, so I’m getting the train to Brisbane for my flight to San Francisco. Unfortunately, there isn’t a convenient alternative to flying if you wish to cross the Pacific.

Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

The Bowerbirds are in the Ptilonorhynchidae – Bowerbirds Family. The family has 17 Bowerbirds and 3 Catbirds in it and they are part of the Passeriformes Order (Songbirds).

Previous articles on Bowerbirds:

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Spotted Bowerbird and the Golden Bowerbird

a j mithra’s – Golden Bowerbird


Family#126 – Ptilonorhynchidae
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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Spotted Bowerbird

Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata) by Ian

Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata) by Ian

Bird of the Week: Spotted Bowerbird
Newsletter: 3/30/2010

I’ve recently been updating the Bowerbird galleries on the website, including those of the Satin, Great Bowerbirds and Spotted. Both the Satin and Great have featured as bird of the week in the past, so here is the Spotted Bowerbird. It is closely related to the similar Great Bowerbird, but is smaller (to 30cm/12in in length compared with 38cm/15in) and much more richly coloured, buff and brown, rather than fawn and greyish-brown. It also has a pink erectile crest on the nape used in display, more prominent on the male but smaller or absent in females and young birds.

Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata) by Ian

Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata) by Ian

Both the photos were taken near the roadhouse at Belyando Crossing, the only place where you can get petrol and food on the 400km stretch between Charters Towers and Clermont on the inland route south of Townsville, and a reliable spot for this species. In the first photo, the bowerbird is showing interest in the mango, remains of my breakfast, currently being commandeered by a Blue-faced Honeyeater. If you look carefully, you can see the crest, but it is more obvious in the second bird which is displaying to another one, out of sight below.

Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata) by Ian

Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata) by Ian

The Spotted Bowerbird is a bird of mainly inland eastern Australia, though it reaches the coast in central Queensland. It occurs widely in Queensland, though absent from the north where it is replaced by the Great, and in New South Wales as far south as the border with Victoria and southeastern South Australia. It is common in the northern part of its range, but rarer in the south. It is replaced in central western regions of Australia (southern Northern Territory, central Western Australia and northwestern South Australia by the similar but darker Western Bowerbird. These three all belong to the genus Chlamydera, and in northern Cape York and Papua New Guinea there is a fourth species, the Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, while a fifth species, the Yellow-breasted Bowerbird, is found in New Guinea but not in Australia.

The males of all these bowerbirds build avenue bowers consisting of two parallel walls, like that of the Satin Bowerbird but unlike the maypole bower of the Golden Bowerbird that was illustrated 4 weeks ago when it featured as bird of the week. All five species collect white and green objects, and seem to show an almost fetishistic preference for shiny objects – stones and shells, historically, but nowadays glass and metal. Only the three southern species have pink crests and these three all collect red objects; the Fawn- and Yellow-breasted Bowerbirds lack the crests and I cannot find any reference to their collecting red objects. Young birds, presumably males, also collect objects in juvenile display areas that lack a proper bower. The third photo, shows one of these, playing with a blue plastic bottle ring, perhaps an indiscriminate choice of exuberant youth!

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) by Ian

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) by Ian

On the subject of bowerbirds, the attached photo of a Golden Bowerbird has been chosen as the icon for the upcoming Birds Australia Congress and Campout in Townsville in August;  .

Links:
Photos of Satin, Golden, Great, Spotted and Fawn-breasted (but not Western) Bowerbirds: http://www.birdway.com.au/ptilonorhynchidae/index.htm.

Best wishes
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Golden Bowerbird

Golden Bowerbird by A. J. Mithra

Spotted Bowerbird is part of the Ptilonorhynchidae – Bowerbirds Family in the Passeriformes Order

If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young: But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days. (Deuteronomy 22:6-7 KJV)


Family#126 – Ptilonorhynchidae
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Golden Bowerbird by A. J. Mithra

Golden Bowerbird

Though the Golden Bowerbird
is the smallest
of all the bower species,
it builds a bower,
consisting of at least
two columns,
each consisting of sticks
arranged around a sapling.
This can be up to
3m/10ft in height,
to attract its female..
The female builds its nest
only above 900m/3,000ft..

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) by Ian

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) by Ian

God used a small girl
to bring healing
in to Naaman’s life..
God used
David the Shepherd boy
to bring down the giant…

God used
a little boy
to feed the multitudes…

God always uses
small people
to bring great revival..

He turns the smallest
into the greatest..

Why?
Cos, their hopes n(r)ests
in the Lord who dwells
high above in the heaven…

Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, (Psalms 113:5 KJV)

Have a blessed day!

Your’s in YESHUA,
A. J. Mithra at Crosstree

Click to see more of A. J.’s articles


See Also:

Bowerbird (Malaconotidae – Bushshrikes) Family of the Passeriformes Order
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Golden Bowerbird
Birds in Hymns – Go Out, My Heart, and Seek Delight


Family#126 – Ptilonorhynchidae
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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Golden Bowerbird

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) by Ian

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) by Ian

Newsletter – 02-28-2010

Searching for a suitable Bird of the Week, I found that the Golden Bowerbird hasn’t, I don’t think, featured as BOW before. That’s a serious omission which we’ll now rectify. It’s serious because all bowerbirds are special, the Golden Bowerbird is particularly gorgeous, its a local specialty and it’s survival is of real concern in the case of global warming.

The adult male Golden Bowerbird is golden-yellow below and glossy golden-olive above, with a yellow erectile patches on the nape and crown. The rarely-seen female is, in comparison, a rather drab olive-brown (there’s a photo of one on the Birdway website, link below). With a length of 23-25cm/9-10 in, it’s the smallest of the Australian Bowerbirds but, as compensation, it builds the biggest bower. It is found only in highland rainforest in the wet tropics of northeastern Queensland from Mount Elliott near Townsville north to Mount Cook near Cooktown. It nest only above 900m/3,000ft, but moves lower in winter. A good place to see them is near Paluma, about one hour’s drive from where I live.

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) at bower by Ian

Golden Bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) at bower by Ian

Most Australian Bowerbirds, such as the Satin Bowerbird, build ‘avenue’ bowers consisting of two parallel walls of twigs on a display platform. The Golden Bowerbird builds a ‘maypole’ bower, consisting of at least two columns, each consisting of sticks arranged around a sapling. This can be up to 3m/10ft in height but more typically is about 1m high like the one in the photo. Between the saplings is a branch used as a display perch and the male bird decorates this with lichens and rainforest flowers, often orchids. The bowers are often incorrectly referred to as ‘nests’, but the bowers are built and maintained by the males to attract females for mating and the females build their own nests. If the male bowerbird disappears, the bower will be taken over by another male so a particular site remains in use used decades.

The concern about global warming arises because their habitat consists of islands of highland rainforest in a sea of coastal lowlands. If warming eventuates, the boundaries of the highland rainforest may rise in altitude and the islands may ultimately disappear. The Golden Bowerbird has iconic status here, but other species would be affected too, such as the Mountain Thornbill. Consequently, Paluma Range has been classified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and monitoring of the bowers of Golden Bowerbirds is undertaken by Birds Australia North Queensland.

Best wishes,
Ian

Links:
Golden Bowerbird
Satin Bowerbird
Mountain Thornbill
Birds Australia North Queensland

Recent additions to Website include photos of:
Spotted Bowerbird
Superb Fruit-Dove
Little Bronze-Cuckoo
Australian Brush-Turkey
Australian Bustard
Long-tailed Finch

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

Bowerbirds are in the Ptilonorhynchidae family of the Passeriformes order.

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth And makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?’ (Job 35:11 NASB)

 


Ptilonorhynchidae
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