The Hut Of The Bowerbird

This 2013 photo by Lars Petersson shows the structure built by a Vogelkop bowerbird, a cone-shaped hut where decorations are collected and artistically arranged. In Papua, New Guinea, Indonesia. Source:

A Vogelkop Bowerbird:


The bower is a cone-shaped hut-like structure some 100 cm high and 160 cm in diameter, with an entrance usually propped up by two column-like sticks. A front “lawn” of some square meters area is cleaned of debris and laid out with moss. On this, and in the entrance of the bower, decorations such as colourful flowers or fruit, shining beetle elytra, dead leaves and other conspicuous objects are collected and artistically arranged.

Males go to great lengths to ensure that their displays are in prime condition, replacing old items as needed, as well as trying to outdo their neighbours by finding more spectacular decorations, and arranging them appropriately. As opposed to other species of bowerbirds, such as the satin bowerbird, there is no fixed preference for items of a certain colour, more important being the “novelty value” of the items instead, which can lead to fashion-like trends if males find rare or unusual items; such rare finds are prime targets for theft by neighboring males. Females visit bowers and, depending on whether they like the “treasure trove” on display, will mate with the attendant males. The bower, indeed the male, play no part in nesting and raising the young.

2 thoughts on “The Hut Of The Bowerbird

  1. mboydp

    I just LOVE this! And the older males actually *teach* the younger ones how to build bowers! Teaching and learning are signs of high intelligence and creativity! If you get a chance, do watch Sir David Attenborough’s film “Flying Casanovas”, first shown in 2001–it’ll knock your socks off!!!



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