Satin Bower Bird - Ptilonorhynchus violaceus

Satin Bower Bird
A pair of Satin Bowerbirds courting in the bower
(photo courtesy of Sally Benson)

There are a couple of species of bower bird on Tamborine Mountain: the Satin Bower Bird and the Regent Bower Bird. As the name implies, the Regent is the more spectacular of the two - or at least the male is, with is his golden orange-yellow crown, mantle and top wing feathers over a black body. The Satin male is resplendent with an almost metallic blue-black colouring overall except for a brilliant yellow beak. As is usual, the female of this species is much less spectacular; although the olive green upper body and speckled breast is rather beautiful if you can catch a sight of this usually shy bird in full sunlight.

The Satin Bowerbirds pictured above are a pair in the middle of their courting ritual - the male is picking up a white flower that he then presents to his paramour. Unfortunately, the photographer was so enthralled by the sight that she completely forgot to press the shutter again! Although she did manage to get this good picture of the male bird below.

Satin Bower Bird
Male Satin Bowerbird
(photo courtesy of Sally Benson)

The Satin bower bird is the more common of the two on the mountain and if you look carefully you will see the bowers which are a bit like a taco made of light twigs and surrounded with blue treasures of all sorts from straws, ball point pens, clothes pegs, berries, bottle tops... as long as they are blue! They are not above stealing objects from another bower. The Regent bower bird tends to collect green objects and will 'paint' the bower with a muddy grayish blue or pea green ‘saliva paint’. The bowers are always aligned North-South.

Satin Bower Bird
Another bower showing a large collection of blue treasures

Their contact call is a harsh wheezing, almost screeching note but they may also make continous croaking sounds and whirring rattles when feeding. Males emit harsh chatterings and creaking churrings interspered with loud ringing notes and mimicry of other birds. Recordings of some calls are on the Lamington National Park web site. This site also has some more descriptive material.

wikipedia   Wikipedia article on the Satin Bowerbird
wikipedia   Wikipedia article on the Regent Bowerbird

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