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Satin Bowerbird Fact File

Appearance

The satin bowerbird exhibits marked sexual dimorphism with males and females looking nothing like one another.

Males are colored blue-black across their entire body with a glossy sheen to this plumage.

Females and immature males are colored grey-green across their crown and upper back with cream colored feathers on the underside. The wings and tail are grey-brown though this has a greenish tint.

Males have a pale yellow colored beak while females have a darker colored beak.

The coloration of females is better at camouflaging in their environment. They do not need to impress another as the males do.

Both males and females have a striking lilac or deep purple eye. Their legs and feet are colored pale pink in males and pale grey in males.

Satin bowerbirds measure between 32cm (13in) long with an average weight between 170 and 290g (6-10oz).

Diet

The satin bowerbird is an omnivore. The majority of their diet is made up of fruit and berries but insects and seeds fill this out during summer while in winter it is supplemented with leaves.

Satin Bowerbird

Scientific Name

Ptilonorhynchus violaceus

Conservation Status

Least Concern

Weight

170-290g (6-10oz)

Length

32cm (13in)

Lifespan

15 years

Diet

Omnivorous

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Range

Australia is the native home of the satin bowerbird. Here they can be found along the east coast from Queensland through New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory down in to Victoria.

Habitat

They make their home in rainforests, open woodlands and wet eucalypt forests.

Occasionally the satin bowerbird will be seen in parks and gardens.

Satin Bowerbird

Reproduction

Males create an intricate structure known as a bower from which their name is derived. This is decorated with blue items such as feathers and flowers. With the expansion of humans artificial items such as straws and bottle caps are now also included in the nest.

These birds create an avenue bower which is located on the ground with twigs placed parallel in an arch on either side.

At the bower he will perform elaborate displays till he can find a female to mate with.

Once they mate the male will continue to display in hopes of attracting a female having no involvement in incubating the eggs or rearing chicks.

The female will then build a nest where she can deposit the eggs. This nest is a cup formed from sticks and twigs.

Her clutch is made up of 1-3 eggs which are incubated for 21-22 days. The eggs are pale brown in color with dark markings.

Fledging takes place by 22 days old but the female will continue to tend the chicks for a further 8-9 weeks.

Chicks initially take on the coloration of the female regardless of gender. Males will begin their transition by 3 years old though it will not be completed till the seventh year of life.

Males reach sexual maturity at 7 years old with females maturing at 2 years old.

Behavior

The call of the superb bowerbird is said to sound like a noisy, wheezing, buzzing sound. They are also capable of mimicking some sounds. Nesting females may mimic their predators.

During winter the satin bowerbird will live in a flock with an average of 5-15 members though some have been observed with up to 100 members.

Satin bowerbirds are active by day.

Immature males will spend much of their time practicing how to build their bower for when they reach sexual maturity.

Satin Bowerbird

Predators and Threats

Humans are affecting the satin bowerbird through habitat clearance and alteration.

Quick facts

Males will decorate their nest with fruit but this is only impressive to females while ripe. When it shrivels they deposit it nearby helping to grow new plants.

The satin bowerbird is the heaviest of the 20 species of bowerbird.

Satin Bowerbird

Photo Credits

Top

JJ Harrison (https://www.jjharrison.com.au/), CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Middle One

Joseph C Boone, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Middle Two

Summ, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Bottom

Dominic Sherony, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

References

Burnie, D., 2011. Animal. 3rd ed. London: DK

Christiansen, P., 2019. Birds. London: Amber Books Ltd.

Morcombe, M., 2003. Field Guide To Australian Birds. Archerfield, Qld.: Steve Parish Pub.

BirdLife International. 2018. Ptilonorhynchus violaceus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22703679A130219832. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22703679A130219832.en. Downloaded on 18 April 2021.

Moonlit Sanctuary. 2021. Satin Bowerbird. [online] Available at: <https://moonlitsanctuary.com.au/satin-bowerbird/> [Accessed 18 April 2021].

Bouglouan, N. 2021. Satin Bowerbird. [online] Available at: <http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-satin-bowerbird.html> [Accessed 18 April 2021].

Davis, D., 2021. Satin Bowerbird. [online] WIRES. Available at: <http://www.wiresnr.org/satinbowerbird.html> [Accessed 18 April 2021].

Australian Reptile Park. 2021. Satin Bowerbird – Australian Reptile Park. [online] Available at: <https://www.reptilepark.com.au/satin-bowerbird/> [Accessed 18 April 2021].

Animals.sandiegozoo.org. 2021. Bowerbird | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants. [online] Available at: <https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/bowerbird> [Accessed 18 April 2021].

The Australian Museum. 2021. Satin Bowerbird. [online] Available at: <https://australian.museum/learn/animals/birds/satin-bowerbird/> [Accessed 18 April 2021].

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