It’s bird week, Land for Wildlife ran some great bird focused events at the weekend and we thought we would share with you some Top End bird profiles during the week and some bird spotting tips.
Firstly here is a bird that we featured in our newsletter- the interesting and quirky Bowerbird. (photographs by Land for Wildlife member Jacinda Brown)
The Bower bird is a curious bird, grey with a brownish grey back, up to 40cm tall. This bird is usually solitary and has a lilac attractive nape crest, which is larger on males. The most distinctive feature of this bird is probably their bower, an open over arched mate magnet of twigs on the ground. These are usually found under low hanging shrubs such as Turkey Bush (Calytrix exstipulata) This is built by the males to attract females and is surrounded by found blue, green or sliver shiny luring objects like white shells, plastic bottle tops, green fruit and broken glass. It is here where the male will display by dancing and opening his tail and hopefully along with the shaking of his funky lilac head piece and shiny entrance ornaments tempt the female to mate with him.
The female leaves the nest (more like a love den) after mating and then goes off to build her own nest and raise her young alone. The call of these birds has been described as someone vomiting violently or shredding paper and the birds can mimic sounds and human laughter.
Bower birds are found across northern Australia in open woodland and the edges of mangroves or monsoon forest. Another interesting fact is they are noted to to eat Strychnos fruit (Stychnos lucida) which contains strychnine and are poisonous to other creatures.
Information is taken from the very useful book “A natural History and Field Guide to Australia’s To End” by Penny van Oosterzee, Ian Morris, Diane Lucas and Noel Preece and “Birds of Palmerston” by Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow