Bowerbird has a gender identity challenge!
As spring approaches, the Bowerbirds at Wye River are more active, preparing for the breeding season any time now (Sep 2018). They descend in groups all around Sea Zen, harvesting everything they can find now. Not helpful for the locals who want to grow a fruit crop later in the season. They also delight in harvesting our poor struggling Japonica blossoms!
They have a gorgeous green speckled camouflage, and they are a bit larger than a pigeon. The eye is a lilac colour. They are very social and make a harsh tzzaar-tzzaar call, so different from the Crimson Rosellas!
Female Satin Bowerbird
In amongst the Wye bird chaos can be seen a few mature males, who are black. Not just black, but a deep midnight blue, satin and shiny. Gorgeous to the admiring females, and to us humans lucky enough to see them.
The male Satin Bowerbird
Male in bower
But why are there so few males?
Actually they are half the bird population, but the young males look the same as the females, quite a challenge to their gender identity. The gorgeous black only emerges after they turn four, when all is revealed! So, the males are green when young and black when mature, all very confusing.
In breeding season, the males set about attracting a mate, bowerbird style. They form a hollow of grass and twigs, an adorn it with blue decorations. About now the blue clothes pegs will disappear. Last year Sibylle put out some strips of blue paper, and within two days all 53 had disappeared!
We saw a local bower a few years ago like the one in the pic above – rare and hard to find in the bush, but a work of art!
The bowerbirds are just a fraction of the rainforest birds that can be seen from Sea Zen.