Species profile

Golden Bowerbird

Golden Bowerbird

Photo courtesy of Eric Sohn Joo Tan.

Range and abundance

The Golden Bowerbird is endemic to high elevation rainforests (typically >700 m) of the wet tropics of north Queensland.

Description

The Golden Bowerbird is Australia’s smallest bowerbird at 23 - 25 cm long. It has a small, short bill. Females are brownish-olive above and much paler greyish below. Males have wings, upper tail and face of olive-green (with yellowish-white sheen), and breast throat, lower tail, cap and nape of golden yellow. The eye of both sexes is yellow. Males have a longer and more forked tail than females.

Ecology

Golden Bowerbird lives in rainforests. Males construct bowers on flat or gently sloping parts of ridges near hillcrests. Bowers are constructed around the trunks of two saplings loosely connected by a fallen branch or log. Each bower is composed of one or two towers of sticks, up to 2 m high, decorated with lichen and freshly plucked flowers. Breeding occurs from September to February. Females build their own nests and usually raise two chicks. Birds eat mostly fruit (often from vines), but also flowers, buds and invertebrates.

Threats

The Golden Bowerbird is restricted to high altitude rainforest. It can be presumed that this reflects an adaptation to montane rainforest, and/ or an intolerance of the high temperatures experienced in the lowland tropics. Global warming is expected to alter the structure and composition of montane, and may affect birds directly. 


What is AWC doing?

AWC protects montane rainforest on Brooklyn. AWC has established monitoring plots in rainforest sites where the Golden Bowerbird occurs and facilitates research by James Cook University on montane rainforest.

Did you know:

Golden Bowerbird are restricted to the mountain ranges of the Wet Tropics. Populations on different mountains are isolated from each other. Each population has developed its own song routine, to the point that playback of songs from different populations may not elicit the aggressive response to the song of bowerbirds from the local population.