Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Great Bowerbird’s nuchal crest

FF
We have been intrigued by a male Great Bowerbird Chlamydera nuchalis and his antics for about eight weeks. The first time we accidentally stumbled across his bower, but since have made an effort to visit him fairly regularly. We have noticed the last two weeks he has certainly tidied up his bower and the assortment of dried snail shells, green seed beries, quartz pebbles and broken glass have been neatly reorganised. After catching a glimpse of his nuchal crest , we went back specifically to photograph him in all his splendour. When we arrived there were three Great Bowerbirds in the neighbourhood and all of the action was restricted to singing from low tree branches. The sounds included mimicking the sound of bark being grated from a tree branch, because at first I thought he was sliding up and down the branches, but as I watched him he was just about motionless as he sang his version. He song also included hissing, and high pitched soprano clicking all of which were being echoed by the two other Great Bowerbirds. After an hour of song he came to his bower and I was able to get a few amazing pictures.
FF
Dr Richard Noske wrote that while most male birds show off their voices or flamboyant plumage to impress a potential mate, bowerbird males had instead perfected the “come up and see my etchings” art of seduction.
FF

FF
According to Dr Noske, “Once the bower is completed, he sings very loudly to advertise his creative masterpiece to any passing females, to whom he then shows off by strutting while circling the bower...FF

FF
... and to top off the show,
he lowers his beak while twisting his head sideways to
flaunt his usually-hidden but now fully erected mauve crest,”FF

FF
In conclusion Dr Noske nots that, “The owners of the best bowers are the winners and male bowerbirds have been known to steal ornaments from their rival’s bowers and sometimes even completely destroy them to increase their chances of scoring a mate.”
FF
FF
Dr Richard Noske teaches at Charles Darwin University and research interests include the birds of the Northern Territory.
(http://www.cdu.edu.au/research/profiles/profile_noske.html)
FF

2 comments:

Pauline said...

Hi there ! I'm glad you got those pictures you were looking for when we ment at the Florence Falls Camp Ground ! We had a great time with both of you and THE LOG!
This blog is a great opportunity to introduce NT to our relatives (definitly better pictures than mine!)
Hope the two of you are doing good.
Pauline&Florian

kimmy lew said...

Thank you for the informative page, I recently stubbled across a bower bird nest in the Moulden area right across the road from a school and in a very small group of trees. I thought this was unusual due to the close proximity of people but the birds did not seem perturbed at all. I found the birds fascinating and amazing to watch and managed to snap a few shots. Being unfamiliar with their mating rituals your page was a great find and explained the behaviour patten I was seeing. I do wonder if these birds nest in the same area each year. I am hoping not as there is construction going on close by and it would be a shame if all his hard work was destroyed before he finishes his courtship.