bowerbird


bowerbird
/bow"euhr berrd'/, n.
any of several oscine birds of the family Ptilonorhynchidae, of Australia, New Guinea, and adjacent islands, the males of which build bowerlike, decorated structures to attract the females.
[1840-50; BOWER1 + BIRD]

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Any of 17 bird species constituting the passerine family Ptilonorhynchidae, of Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands.

The male builds an elaborate structure (the bower) on the ground, decorates it with bright and shiny objects, and displays and sings loudly above it; females visit him and then lay their eggs in simple nests nearby. The mat, or platform, type of bower is a thick pad of plant material. The maypole type is a hut (sometimes as large as a child's playhouse) of twigs erected around one or more saplings in a cleared court. The avenue type consists of two close-set parallel walls of sticks on a circular mat of twigs. See also catbird.

Regent bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus)

Painting by Albert E. Gilbert

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bird
 any of 17 bird species that constitute the family Ptilonorhynchidae of the order Passeriformes. Bowerbirds are birds of Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands that build more or less elaborate structures on the ground. Some are called catbirds, gardeners, and stagemakers. The male builds the bower, and he displays and sings loudly in or above it; females visit him there and lay their eggs in simple nests some distance away. The bowers, beset with all kinds of shiny and coloured objects, are of three kinds:

      The “mat,” or “platform,” type consists of a thick pad of plant material, ringed or hung about with objects, made by Archbold's bowerbird (Archboldia papuensis). The stagemaker, or tooth-billed catbird (Scenopoeetes dentirostris), of forests of northeastern Australia, arranges leaves silvery-side up (withered ones are carried aside) to form a “circus ring.”

      The “maypole” type consists of a tower of twigs erected around one or more saplings in a cleared court. The golden bowerbird (Prionodura newtoniana) makes a rooflike bridge from tower to tower. Male gardeners, any of the four species of the genus Amblyornis, plant a lawn of tree moss around the maypole and embellish it with flowers, berries, and other objects. The brown, or crestless, gardener (A. inornatus), lacking the orangish crown of the other species, makes the fanciest garden and a hut big enough to resemble a child's playhouse.

      The “avenue” type consists of two close-set parallel walls of sticks, interwoven and sometimes overarching, on a circular mat of twigs. Avenues are made by the satin bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus); the regent bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus) and its relatives; and the spotted bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata) and its relatives. Satin and regent bowerbirds make a paint of vegetable pulp, charcoal, and saliva and apply it to the interior walls; a daub of green leaves may be used—a rare instance of a bird using a tool.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • bowerbird — ► NOUN ▪ an Australasian bird noted for the male s habit of constructing an elaborate bower adorned with feathers, shells, etc. to attract the female …   English terms dictionary

  • bowerbird — [bou′ərbʉrd΄] n. any of certain passerine birds (family Ptilonorhynchidae) of Australia and New Guinea: the male builds a mating bower, variously decorated, to attract the female …   English World dictionary

  • Bowerbird — Taxobox name = Bowerbirds image caption = Male Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus image width = 250px regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo = Passeriformes subordo = Passeri familia = Ptilonorhynchidae familia authority …   Wikipedia

  • bowerbird — noun Date: 1845 any of a family (Ptilonorhynchidae) of passerine birds of Australia and New Guinea in which the male builds a chamber or passage arched over with twigs and grasses, often adorned with bright colored objects, and used especially to …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • bowerbird — n. bird that builds bowerlike elaborate structures and is native to New Guinea and Australia …   English contemporary dictionary

  • bowerbird — noun an Australasian bird noted for the male s habit of constructing an elaborate bower adorned with feathers, shells, etc. to attract the female. [Family Ptilonorhynchidae: several species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • bowerbird — bow•er•bird [[t]ˈbaʊ ərˌbɜrd[/t]] n. orn any of various songbirds of the Australian and Papuan family Ptilonorhynchidae, the males of which build bowerlike structures decorated to attract the female • Etymology: 1840–1850 …   From formal English to slang

  • bowerbird — /ˈbaʊəbɜd / (say bowuhberd) noun 1. any of various birds of the family Ptilonorhynchidae, of Australia and New Guinea, the males of which build bower like structures and decorate them with bright objects to attract females for mating. 2.… …   Australian English dictionary

  • bowerbird — n. 1 any of various birds of the Ptilonorhyncidae family, native to Australia and New Guinea, the males of which construct elaborate bowers of feathers, grasses, shells, etc. during courtship. 2 a person who collects bric agrave brac …   Useful english dictionary

  • Western Bowerbird — Conservation status …   Wikipedia


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