Oct 14 2011

Decorate With Flowers

Published by at 7:20 am under Beyond Bounds,Bird Behavior

Today we travel with the BBC to Indonesia where we find a drab bird with an unusual skill:  interior decoration.

Male Volgelkop bowerbirds don’t have beautiful plumes to attract the ladies so they compensate by building and maintaining beautifully decorated bowers where they ultimately mate with the females.

The bower is no nest.  It’s a work of art which requires constant maintenance over a period of years.  Each feature must be placed to its best advantage, then replaced when it fades or goes out of fashion.

To make his bower easy to find, the male announces it using his amazing voice which can mimic almost any sound.  The birds in this video seem to prefer Star Wars’ sounds.

If everything works as planned the male attracts a mate.

Watch the video to see how it’s done and learn a valuable lesson:  It pays to decorate with flowers.

(video from BBC One on YouTube)

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Decorate With Flowers”

  1. Libby Strizzion 14 Oct 2011 at 9:14 am

    I love it!! And the commentators’ comments are so clever & entertaining too.

  2. Anne Marieon 14 Oct 2011 at 10:41 am

    thanks Kate, that was extremely cool and interesting!

    poor guy with the dung! however, his art was alive… i liked the sprouting fungus..

  3. Joshon 14 Oct 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I read in Science Magazine that some bowers are actually designed to make the male bird appear larger to the female, and thus more fit. However, the bower in the picture didn’t look anything like volgelkop’s, so I think it must have been a different species. I think I’ve seen that clip before, but it was fun to revisit.

    @ Anne, I agree about the sprouting fungus, he probably would have been better off if he’d just let it grow. But I’m a guy, so what do I know?

  4. Kathyon 15 Oct 2011 at 9:23 am

    Absolutely incredible!!! Thanks Kate. I shared this one with my grandkids this weekend. They were totally fascinated. Bird lovers in the making!

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