Comprehensive and accurate synthesis of our knowledge of Bowerbirds which are confined to the great island of New Guinea and the island continent of Australia, and their immediately adjacent islands. They are medium-sized birds, terrestrial, omnivorous, and largely solitary. They are unique in the avian world in that the males build elaborate 'bowers' for display and courtship. Includes 16 specially-commissioned colour plates and 77 drawings by Eustace Barnes illustrating special features and behaviour; and descriptions of each species, providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date species-level information available.
List of colour plates; List of abbreviations; Plan of the book; Diagrams of bird topography; Map showing some locations mentioned in the text; Boundaries of the regional maps used in the species accounts of Chapter 8; PART I GENERAL CHAPTERS; 1. The bowerbirds--an introduction; 2. Systematics and biogeography; 3. Ecological cycles, foraging, and other behaviour; 4. Morphology, demography, bower sites, structures, and their significance; 5. Bower site acquisition, fidelity, attendance, and courtship displays; 6. Breeding biology and parental care; 7. Evolution of mating systems and sexual selection; PART II FAMILY, GENUS, AND SPECIES ACCOUNTS; 8. Family PTILONORHYNCHIDAE 20 species in 8 genera; Appendices; Glossary; Bibliography; Index
For the time being, this is the definitive account of bowerbird biology, but it will be a fitting tribute to the Frith's ability to inspire future generations of bowerbird biologists if their excellent book soon requires a new edition. T.R. Birkhead, Ibis (2007), 149, 175-188 Oxford University Press has established itself as a leading publisher of high quality ornithology texts ... the strength of this book, and the others in the series, lies in its high scientific goal, its top quality illustration and its ability to present a wealth of information in a manner that is readily accessible to the amateur serious about learning more about ornithology not only of individual bird families but of birds as a whole. Avian and Poultry Biology Reviews OUP are always keen to support the text with good illustrations. The series is characterised by specially commissioned colour plates, here done by Eustace Barnes, that illustrate species, subspecies, genders and age-related plumage characteristics. In this volume, colour photographs of some of the bowers are included. Add to this clear maps and line drawings, as well as half-tone photographs by the author, and as a result The Bowerbirds becomes an attractive book that is worthy of any bookshelf ... From my own perspective, I love this book. Avian and Poultry Biology Reviews