304 pages, colour & b/w photos, illustrations, maps
Bowerbirds are the most remarkable and fascinating of living birds because of their amazingly human-like, complex, and artistic behaviour.
Males build architecturally complex structures, called bowers. Some bowers are like miniature buildings and are artistically decorated with flowers, fruits, bones, shells, feathers and much more, including numerous human artefacts. Birds even paint their bowers, some applying pigment to bower walls by the use of a tool! Males vigorously compete by destroying each other's bowers and by stealing bower decorations from one another. All this is performed to attract, court, and mate females at bowers. But it is very much the females that have the males jumping through hoops for them!
So incredible is much of what bowerbirds do that early bird authorities suggested they be given a class of their own, just as humans were held apart from other animals. They were once thought to be far more intelligent than other birds, and while this is no longer considered true recent research has shown they have larger brains than similar songbirds of their region (Australia and New Guinea only).
This authoritative book comprehensively describes and illustrates the nature, art, and history of all bowerbirds. It contains previously unpublished, historically significant, drawings and paintings and numerous photographs from remote and difficult tropical habitats of Australia and New Guinea.
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