Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bower-bird, a name for any species or individual of a group of Thrush-like birds from Australia and the Eastern Archipelago, due to the fact that the majority of them erect bower-like structures of twigs, in which they disport, and in which the males display their love-antics. There are five genera - Sericulus, Ptilonorhynchus, and Chlamydodera, confined to Eastern Australia, AEluredus (called also Cat-birds from their cry), ranging thence to the Papuan Islands, and Amblyornis, confined to New Guinea; they were formerly made a sub-family (Tectonarchinae) of the Paradiseidae, but are now generally placed with the Babbling Thrushes (q.v.). The plumage of Sericulus chrysocephalus (the Regent Bird) is brilliant golden-yellow and black; that of the male of Ptilonorhynchus holosericeus is glossy black, and of the female brown and green mixed; the species of Chlamydodera are clothed in brown, more or less spotted with buff, and generally have a nuchal crest; the Cat-bird (AEluredus smithii), is green, spotted with white, the ground-tint lighter on the under-surface; in the other two species of the genus the upper-surface is green, and the under-surface yellow or buff, spotted with brown. The single species of Amblyornis, from New Guinea, is rufous-brown above, buff beneath. The bower-building habit seems to be confined to the first three genera, and it must be borne in mind that these bowers are in no sense nests. Of the nidification of these birds little is known; the nest and eggs of AEluredus smithii have only recently been found. The bowers made by the various species differ somewhat in their form and ornamentation, but the general principle of construction is the same. They are decorated with gay feathers, shells, bleached bones, bright-coloured berries, and, in some cases, tall grasses, "the whole showing a decided taste for the beautiful," and the bones and shells are often arranged so as to form a kind of pathway to the bowers, which are the most wonderful instances of bird-architecture yet discovered.