It has come time to put together another blog entry and I find myself bed ridden with a bad back so I will share a brief description of some of my local birds.

With this headline, and my bias, I am tempted to include every bird however I will restrict myself, on this occasion to just three species. Each of these species is an amazing bird and ones that can only be seen, observed, and enjoyed here in Australia. And all can be found here in the forests surrounding my house. 

The first two species are related. They are both bowerbirds. The Satin Bowerbird, the male pictured above, and the even more spectacular Regent Bowerbird, the male pictured below, are found in our rainforests. Bowerbirds are a unique family of birds found only in Australia and New Guinea. The males are more decorative and colourful than the females.

The Satin Bowerbird male has a wonderful shiny blue-black plumage with piercing blue eyes. It is both an artist and an architect, making and decorating, not a nest, but a bower. The bower is the ultimate bachelor pad as it exists for no other purpose than to attract females of the species to come close enough to be entertained and mated with.

A poor picture of a female Satin Bowerbird.

The Regent Bowerbird male is gold and black, attaining this adult plumage, like the Satin, in his fourth year of life. The picture below is a male Regent Bowerbird at a bird bath in my backyard. Like the Satin he too builds a bower.
The Satin Bowerbird surrounds his bower with interesting blue bits. When the female arrives, he sings or sounds accompanied by a dazzling dancing display. If she is impressed, she accepts his one single contribution to the raising of the next generation.

The female bowerbird is sadly a single parent. She makes the nest, incubates the eggs and feeds the young solo. The male is simply a hedonistic pleasure seeker!

The female Regent Bowerbird is quite unlike the male. The bird above is a young male, however, as its yellowing bill attests. 

My next selection is a bird of paradise! A little while ago I watched a National Geographic documentary, about the Birds of Paradise and it claimed, in its introduction, that all such species were found in New Guinea. Wrong!

We have four species of Birds of Paradise in Australia and one here in the Sunshine Coast hinterland; the Paradise Riflebird, the male is pictured above. Like most Birds of Paradise, the males are relatively spectacular and the females more subdued.

The males, rely on plumage, sound and an impressive display to seduce their girl. The dance involves finding a display perch and positioning themselves such that the sunlight reflects off their jade green chest and throat, standing and stretching as tall as possible, throwing their bill open to expose a vivid yellow gape and screeching. If the female lands close by, he slowly begins and flashy fan dance which speeds up and up in mesmerising fashion before he positions himself for the quick cloacal kiss.

The picture above is actually a young male, Victoria’s Riflebird, practicing displaying on a prominent perch in north east Queensland.

Like the female bowerbird, the riflebird female, pictured below, parents alone.

All of these three species can be found within the forests near my home, and they attract more than the occasional birder to search for them! They certainly are worth looking for.

Written by Ken Cross
Ken Cross is a birder from Down Under! He teaches at a local high school and lives with his wife Megan and their three children [two now as the oldest has recently left!] on the forested hinterland of the Sunshine Coast on Australia’s east coast. Currently he is the convenor for Birdlife Australia in his local area and, as that suggests, he loves sharing his passion for birds and all wildlife through outings and bird walks.