MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: What bird creates artwork to impress a potential mate?

Date: Tue Jun 13 10:27:28 2000
Posted By: Kurt Wollenberg, Post Doc Genetics, North Carolina State University
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 960472505.Zo

This sounds like the bowerbirds of Australia and New Guinea. The males of 
these species construct elaborate structures out of sticks and graas and 
then decorate them with objects found in the forest. Different species 
will tend to collect objects of the same color and shininess. For instance, 
the male stain bowerbird, who is a deep blue during the brreding season, 
will collect mostly blue objects to decorate his bower. The bowers 
themselves appear to act as the centerpeices of the males breeding 
territory. Most of the calling and other displays that are used to attract 
females take place around the bower. A search on the web found the 
following website with more information on bowerbirds:

From here there are a number of links to other sites with even more 
information about and pictures of bowerbirds.

Interestingly, the other birds you mention in your question are probably 
the birds of paradise, which are found mostly in New Guinea. The bowerbirds 
and birds of paradise are considered to be fairly closely related, being 
grouped in the same family (Paradisaeidae). You should be able to find 
information about the birds of paradise from some of the same sources of 
information about bowerbirds.

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