FABULOUS BOWERBIRD

IS FOUND IN NEW GUINEA


Bowerbird Australia

The spectacular yellow-fronted gardener bowerbird—for years known only on the basis of three stuffed specimens sold to Lord Rothschild in 1895-—has now been sighted in what appears to be its sole habitat, a remote mountain range in western New Guinea. Scientists feared the bird had become extinct.


Like most bowerbirds, all of which are confined to Australia and New Guinea. This species (Amblyornis flavifrons) builds elaborate gardens with neatly laid- out lawns. moss platforms, parapets and stacks of brightly colored fruit and other objects. The elaborate gardens made by bowerbirds are so neatly arranged and decorated that they are often assumed to be man-made.


In reporting on his recent discovery, UCLA physiologist Jared Diamond offers new evidence that the bowers the birds builds are actuaily gigantic courting nests. Diamond observed that the male A. f/avifrons courts the female while perched near the bower with a bright-blue fruit in his beak. The same blue fruit is used as decoration in the bower. Diamond also confirmed S that there is an inverse relationship between the elaboa rateness of the male bower bird’s ornamental plumage and the construction and or ornamentation of his bower. The plainer the plumage, the more ornate the bower, and vice versa.




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