Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata) is a sedentary passerine found across much of eastern Australia’s drier habitats. Despite the local abundance, it is believed that the population of spotted bowerbirds is declining overall. Similar to other bowerbirds (Ptilonorynchidae), this species is known for its remarkable behavior, including bower construction and decorating courtship displays, and vocal mimicry.
Spotted Bowerbird males spend much time tending, watching, and singing over their bowers during the breeding season and throughout the rest of the year. A foundation mat of crossed sticks oriented north-south under sheltering shrubs supports twin parallel walls of finely interwoven dry stems about 200-500 mm high, 400-700 mm long, and 150-200 mm apart. A polygynous bird, Spotted bowerbirds build bowers and maintain display courts, like most bowerbirds.
After females are successfully attracted to bowers, males perform elaborate courtship displays that include both central and peripheral displays along with vocalizations.
Birds use their bills to dab a red-brown mixture of saliva and grass juice on their inner walls; they clear up a meter of ground at each end of the bower and pile up white and pale green objects-bones, pebbles, snail shells, seeds, berries, even glass, cartridge cases, and can tops. Males display two animated displays when females arrive.
When the female is hidden behind the bower walls, he either runs and bounds cock-tailed around the bower, or he cavorts on his ornamented platform, facing her. Both displays feature the male striking erratic, stiff, violently contorted postures, attacking bower ornaments with hisses, clicking and churring explosively, mixed with extraordinary mimicry. When the male flicks his head sideways and forward, he flashes his raised and expanded lilac neck bar, and his wings open and droop or rise.
In the bower, any number of females mate and leave to lay their eggs and rear their young. Spotted Bowerbirds roam the cooler near-inland woodlands of eastern Australia alone or in small groups when they are not breeding or attending bowers.
Flying in swooping undulations, with wingtips upswept, they feed mostly on fruit found in tree and shrub crowns, drink daily, and feed primarily on fruit. Mimic birds and cabbage birds are also names for this bird. The Spotted Bowerbird measures about 280-300 mm in length. In adults, males and females have similar patterns on their crowns; females have a smaller nape bar and a longer tail. The crown and face are streaked with brown ochre; the nape bar is adorned with dense lilac plumes. Brown is the color of the mantle. Dusky brown spotted ochre at the tips of all feathers on the rest of the upper parts, wings, and moderate tail. Over the belly, brown gray fades to plain cream; flanks and undertail striped gray. Throat and breast are brown gray mottled ochre-cream. A brown eye is visible. The bill is horn-brown, and the mouth is yellow. Olive-brown is the color of the feet.
MALE: As an adult; no nape bar.
Spotted bowerbirds mainly eat fruit, flowers, and seeds, but they also eat arthropods. They are also known to rob orchards and gardens for fruit and take food scraps from campsites and houses.
The vocalizations of spotted bowerbirds are diverse. There are a variety of calls that gray bowerbirds make, including loud, harsh churrings as well as complex vocal mimicries. As accomplished vocal mimics, spotted bowerbirds can simulate the calls of a wide variety of birds and other sounds as well. As a means of contact and alarm, Spotted Bowerbirds make a rasping, penetrating call. AUTHOR: The male in the display makes noises such as sputtering, clinking, hissing, and mimicking. There may be a soft hiss from the female in the bower.
Moreover, September-February is the nesting and breeding season. Male bowerbirds do not participate in parental care, as do most bowerbirds. Nests are built by females in trees and shrubs. In shrubbery or mistletoe, 2-15 meters up, nests are loose, frail saucers made of thin, interlocking leaves, vines, and twigs measuring 130-200 mm by 90 mm; lined with needles and tendrils.
There are two-three eggs; they are pale buff-grey with dusky zigzag lines; they are oval, about 38 x 27mm in size. Females are responsible for incubation. A large amount of the bird’s habitat is well-grassed woodlands in mid-eastern Australia, along the central Murray River, north to the mid-Queensland coast and the foot of the Cape York Peninsula, and west to the Georgina River system, Queensland. Read More – Western Bowerbird (Chlamydera guttata)