Clip of the Week – satin bowerbirds courting on street verge

Male satin bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) courting female on suburban street verge, bower filled with blue plastic, Australia, October 2018. By David Gallan.

Satin bowerbirds

The satin bowerbird is a bowerbird endemic to Eastern Australia. Like all bowerbirds, they show complex courtship behaviour – the males build and decorate a bower, and dance to attract females. As the males mature, they are increasingly attracted to blue items to decorate their bowers!

David commented:

“Our house was damaged in the 2018 Tathra bushfire. While we were renting in the township I noticed a male with a distinctive satin sheen calling in a tree out the front of the house or flying at low level in various direction from a single point. I was not surprised to see the bower in a bushy verge outside the front fence. Not wanting to disturb the courtship rituals the camera was left for two twenty minute periods on a small table top tripod on the edge of the bower display. A cloudy day was chosen to minimise harsh shadows and render colours with more saturation. The Australian flag amongst the collection was a surprising bonus!

An Olympus 9mm f8 body cap lens with great depth of field was used to record the courtship ritual.”