Debby Ng returned from a birding tour of the Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory with images of the Great Bowerbird (Chlamydera nuchalis) (left) and it’s bower (below). The photographs were taken in the Mary River area in the south.
According to Debby, “The bird’s bower had a display of bleached land snail shells, broken green bottle glass, and wrappers of aluminum foil. The brid’s nest is a cup in a tree and the bower is used only for courtship purposes. The male was very nervous as we approached the bower, so we backed away and shot the bower from afar instead. There were two bowers at the site and several bower birds in that particular vicinity but we only observed one bird go towards its nest to make the ‘arrangements.’”
According to Goodfellow (2005), it is the male that builds the elaborate arched bower. Broken glass and white stones, often broken quartz, are used to decorate the ground around. When a female approaches, “the male parades and dances with lowered wings and raised tail, shaking the mauve crest and opening his mouth to reveal the yellow lining.” Once mating is completed, the female leaves to build her bowl-shaped nest of twigs lodged in a fork of a far-off woody shrub.
Goodfellow, D. L. & M. Scott, 2005. Birds of Australia’s top end. Reed New Holland, Sydney. 159 pp.