Vogelcop Bowerbird and his bower

posted in: Courtship-Mating | 1

Myron Tay a.k.a. myrontay took an eleven-day trek up Arfak Mountains in Papua New Guinea in early 2010. It was tough going, walking up and down mountains through heavy mist and rain most of the time. Besides, he had to forgo a proper bath during the entire period. But it was worth the hardship as he encountered numerous colourful birds like birds of paradise that he would otherwise never see.

His encounter with the bower of the Vogelcop Bowerbird’s (Amblyornis inornata) was another highpoint of his trip. This rather common medium-sized bowerbird has a restricted range, present in the West Papuan Highlands EBA. Throughout this range it is common and thus not globally threatened.

The bower looks like a cone-shaped hut built around a central sapling and made entirely of sticks. There is a low entrance that opens out onto a large front lawn. The lawn is cleaned of debris and carefully laid out with a large bunch of pink flowers on one side and a black pile of bracket fungi on the other. Nearer to the entrance is another smaller pile of black objects, probably pieces of bracket fungi and what not. There is an orangy piece of unidentified object in the centre of the entrance.

The bower is constructed by the male, who is reported to spend 9-10 months a year building and maintaining it. Its purpose is to attract the female. The male after mating plays no part in the brooding and raising of the chicks.

A BBC video of the courtship ritual of this bowerbird in his bower can be viewed HERE.

Image by Myron Tay.

This post is a cooperative effort between NaturePixels.org and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

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