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Bowerbirds: Ptilonorhynchidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Depending on species, bowerbirds can be monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus; having one mate) or polygynous (puh-LIJ-uh-nus). Monogamous pairs defend a territory, while males do not help with nest building, incubation (process of sitting on eggs), or the raising of young, though they do help with feeding. Males of polygynous species defend only the nearby area of their bowers. They court and mate with many females, being able to supply many females and their young with large amounts of food in territories with plenty of fruits. Unlike any other bird families, a polygynous male clears a courting area where he builds a bower, a complex symmetrical structure of sticks, grasses, and other vegetation, and decorates it with various colorful objects.

The three types of nesting structures made by bowerbirds are: courts (cleared and decorated with leaves); maypole bowers (constructed of branches, sticks, saplings, and orchid stems along with an elaborate and decorated mat underneath it); and avenue bowers (made of two parallel, vertical walls of sticks or grass stems placed onto a foundation that is set on a ground court that may extend past one or both ends of the bower, making a platform). Courts and bowers are decorated with flowers, leaves, lichens (LYE-kenz), fruits, beetle wing cases, insect skeletons, snail shells, tree resin, bones, river-worn pebbles and stones, and tail feathers of parrots and plumes of adult males of certain birds of paradise. The incubation period (time to sit on eggs before hatching) is twenty-one to twenty-seven days. The nestling period (time necessary to take care of young unable to leave nest) lasts seventeen to thirty days. They live longer than most birds, many twenty to thirty years.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsBowerbirds: Ptilonorhynchidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Satin Bowerbird (ptilonorhynchus Violaceus): Species Accounts, Spotted Bowerbird (chlamydera Maculata): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, BOWERBIRDS AND