Great Bowerbird

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Great bowerbird
Chlamydera nuchalis by Bowdler Sharpe.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Ptilonorhynchidae
Genus: Chlamydera
Species: C. nuchalis
Binomial name
Chlamydera nuchalis
Jardine & Selby, 1830
Chlamydera nuchalis - Mount Carbine.jpg
Bower
Great bower bird's bower near Cooktown, Australia
Male showing beginnings of bright plumage on nape of neck

The great bowerbird (Chlamydera nuchalis) is a common and conspicuous resident of northern Australia, from the area around Broome across the Top End to Cape York Peninsula and as far south as Mount Isa. Favoured habitat is a broad range of forest and woodland, and the margins of vine forests, monsoon forest, and mangrove swamps.

As with most members of the bowerbird family, breeding considerations dominate the lifecycle: females nest inconspicuously and raise their young alone, while the males spend most of the year building, maintaining, improving, defending, and above all displaying from their bowers. Only a male with a successful bower can attract mates.

The great bowerbird is the largest of the bowerbird family and is 33 to 38 cm long and fawny grey in colour. Males have a small but conspicuous pink crest on the nape of the neck.

Bower[edit]

The male builds the largest bower of all bowerbirds. It is a twin-walled avenue-type bower approximately 1 metre long and 45 cm high. It is typically located under a shrub or leafy branch. The ends of the bower are scattered with white and green objects - stones, bones, shells and leaves and small man-made objects such as plastic and bottle caps. Within the bower itself is sometimes placed clear glass.

Uniquely among bowerbirds, groups of young males will attend a single bower concurrently, "practising" their bower-building skills prior to establishing their own bower for mating purposes.

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