Spotted bowerbird

Chlamydera maculata taxonomy

Chlamydera maculata Gould, 1837, New Holland = Liverpool Plains, Australia, New South Wales, Australia.

other common names

English: Large-frilled bowerbird, cabbage bird; French: Jardinier maculé; German: Fleckenlaubenvogel; Spanish: Capu-linero Moteado.

physical characteristics 11.4 in (29 cm); female 0.27-0.36 lb (124-162 g), male 0.28-0.33 lb (125-150 g). Mottled brown with lilac bar across the back of the neck.

distribution

Interior of Queensland south of 20 degrees South, except the extreme west and southwest, and interior of west and central New South Wales, except the extreme western border country. Extends a small way into the northwest corner of Victoria and just into South Australia along the Murray River system. Occurs from sea level to about 1,640 ft (500 m).

habitat

Brigalow and open eucalyptus woodlands, with a preference for riverine woodland.

behavior

Grassy avenue bowers are built beneath low bushes or shrubs, 3,300-6,600 ft (1,000-2,000 m) apart. Decorations (to 1,000 or more) include berries, seed pods, pebbles, bones, snail shells, and glass. Adult males emit infrequent, loud, far-carrying advertisement vocalizations of harsh churrings and other notes including vocal mimicry.

feeding ecology and diet

Omnivorous. Eats fruits, flowers, leaves, seeds, and arthropods. Grasshoppers are important to the nestling diet.

reproductive biology

Polygynous, with promiscuous males and exclusively female nest attendance. Breeding occurs during July through March. Egg laying peaks in October through February. Typically places sparse open cup nest in trees and bushes at 10-40 ft (3-12 m) above ground. Nests are made of a loose bulky foundation of dead twigs and sticks and an egg-cup of fine twiglets, sometimes with dried grass stalks. Incubation period is unknown. Nestling period at one nest was 21 days.

conservation status

Not threatened, but numbers have historically declined in some areas because of illegal shooting and poisoning, predation by domestic and feral cats and foxes, and widespread clearing and/or modification/fragmentation of habitat. Populations are officially considered Endangered within state of Victoria.

significance to humans

Commonly kept in aviculture, where birds thrive. Bird known to steal items from homes, camps, and vehicles for bower decorations. Birds are killed as pests to gardens and orchards. ♦

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