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23

Great Bowerbird

(Ptilonorhynchus [Chlamydera] nuchalis)
Alternate name(s): "Queensland Bowerbird", "Great Grey Bowerbird"
Size: 33-38 cm
Weight: 165-240 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Great Bowerbird at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "nuchalis"

ADULT

MALE

Near-frontal view of a male Great Bowerbird (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a male Great Bowerbird (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Dorsal view of a male Great Bowerbird outside its bower (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Darwin, NT, August 2013]

Close-up view of a male Great Bowerbird's nuchal crest (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Darwin, NT, August 2013]

Male Great Bowerbird working on its bower; while not in display posture, the bird's nuchal crest is well-hidden (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

FEMALE

Frontal view of a female Great Bowerbird with a fruit, possibly a native fig (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Near-lateral view of a female Great Bowerbird; note how much paler this bird is compared to the males shown above (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Lateral view of a female Great Bowerbird (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a female Great Bowerbird with a fruit, possibly a native fig (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Dorsal view of a female Great Bowerbird (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Male Great Bowerbird re-arranging trinkets outside its bower; note the female inside the bower, inspecting it
(photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Darwin, NT, August 2013]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Lateral view of a Great Bowerbird; the remnant pale gape indicates that it is probably a juvenile bird - it seems to be scavenging (or collecting trinkets?) from the local rubbish tip (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Maxwell Creek, Melville Island, off Darwin, NT, November 2016]

Frontal view of a Great Bowerbird; the bird's prominent yellow-orange gape indicates that it is probably a juvenile
(photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Broome Bird Observatory, Broome, WA, April 2015]

Race "orientalis"

ADULT

Sex unknown

Frontal view of a Great Bowerbird with a native fig (photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, June 2007]

Near-lateral view of a Great Bowerbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, July 2018]

Lateral view of a Great Bowerbird (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, July 2018]

Breeding information

Twitcher's tip

A bower is NOT a nest - it is a male bird's courting alley. Nests, built by female birds, are in fact kept well away from bowers.

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary/roaming Elementary unit: Solitary

Male birds are sedentary, females are roaming.

Bowers

Male Great Bowerbirds try to attract as many females to their territory, and thus their bower, as they can.

View through the alley of a Great Bowerbird's bower
[Lake Copperfield, Pine Creek, NT, August 2014]

As opposed to the bowers of other species of bowerbird (e.g. ), which are all open at the top, a Great Bowerbird's bower can be completely covered by a dome
[Lake Copperfield, Pine Creek, NT, August 2014]

Male Great Bowerbird re-arranging trinkets outside its bower; note the female inside the bower, inspecting it (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Darwin, NT, August 2013]

Bower of a male Great Bowerbird (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Weipa, QLD, October 2008]

Bower of a male Great Bowerbird; seen from the side, it is difficult to tell what exactly the clump of sticks is all about (photo courtesy of M. Mearns)
[Weipa, QLD, October 2008]

Great Bowerbird's bower (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Abandoned Great Bowerbird bower (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Food, Diet

Frontal view of a female Great Bowerbird with a fruit, possibly a native fig (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Yeah... there are always those who can do better! Lateral view of a Great Bowerbird with two native figs
(photo courtesy of R. Russell)
[Mount Molloy, QLD, March 2011]

Near-dorsal view of a female Great Bowerbird with a fruit, possibly a native fig (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Lake Argyle, near Kununurra, WA, April 2018]

Ventral view of a Great Bowerbird with a fruit (photo courtesy of P. Brown)
[Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, September 2018]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

grtbowr_20140818.mp3 nuchalis
(Pine Creek, NT)
Antics near bower © MD
grtbowr_20140820.mp3 nuchalis
(Darwin, NT)
Cat-like call (mimicry?) © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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