The satin bowerbird, Ptilonorhynchus violaceus, is a small Australian bird known for its ability to build a special area for attracting females. This bower is filled with blue objects to help attract a female. There are six bird species in the bowerbird genus, of which five build a some kind of courting area. The golden bowerbird sits on a bridge he has made between sticks decorated like maypoles.
Description[change | change source]
They are a small bird, about 30 cm (12 in) long and weighing about 150 g (5 oz). The young males and females look the same, with grey to green, brown and dark brown feathers. The belly is coloured a pale brown to cream color, with dark olive to grey crescent shapes. When the male becomes sexually mature at about seven years old he grows black feathers, with a shiny blue-purple shine. The male also has bright blue eyes, and a blue beak which is yellow on the end.
Bowers[change | change source]
The satin bowerbird builds a special area, called a bower, to attract a female. They return to the same area every year, where they clear a space about 1 m (3 ft) in diameter and then build the bower. In the centre is two lines of thin sticks or grass, carefully lined up to north and south. He can paint the walls with a mixture of his saliva and crushed berries which he brushes on with a stick. He then places a collection of coloured objects in the entrance to the bower. These are usually blue or yellow, and can include feathers, and even plastic or glass. The male stands outside the bower and sings and may pick up the objects to show them to the female. If she is pleased with the performance and the bower, she will enter the bower, followed by the male and they mate quickly. She will then fly off to begin building a nest. The male has nothing more to do with her.