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Posts Tagged ‘Vogelkop Bowerbird’

The Vogelkop Bowerbird

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This bird is a bowerbird. This means the males attract females not with songs or brilliant plumage. Instead, they build elaborate bowers that are used to display objects that attract mates. They collect all sorts of things. One of the birds in the clip actually collects deer droppings, but they vary in what they choose to bring in the females. If a female likes the objects the male is displaying in his bower, she accepts him as her mate.

This particular species is native to the Vogelkop Peninsula. Its name sort of annoyed me, because I know that Vogel means bird in German and Kopf means head. I don’t know Dutch, but I assumed that this peninsula was named by the Dutch when they colonized Indonesia. It is on the Island of New Guinea, but it’s in the West Papua Province part of the island, which is part of Indonesia.

It turns out that the place is indeed called “Bird’s Head” in Dutch.

So it is literally the “Bird’s Head Bowerbird.”

This particular species is known for building among the most elaborate bowers.

There are many species of bowerbird, all them native to New Guinea and Northern Australia. Not all of them build such amazing bowers, and some– including the Vogelkop– are also excellent mimics.

When bowerbird bowers were first discovered by Europeans, it was believed that they were human artifacts. It was only when they observed them that they realized that the birds were actually put together.

So humans aren’t the only ones into conspicuous consumption.

Remember what happens with youtube videos that can’t be embedded?  Just follow the link that appears in video when you click play.

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