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A photo of a Spotted Bowerbird (Chlamydera maculata)
Spotted Bowerbird

Spotted Bowerbird

Chlamydera maculata

The Spotted Bowerbird, Chlamydera maculata, is a mid-sized passerine that graces the drier habitats of eastern Australia with its presence. This species, with a length of 29 cm, is intermediate in size among its kin. It boasts a pale rufous head streaked with grey-brown and a nape crowned with a lilac-pink crest. The upperparts are a blackish-brown, adorned with amber spots, while the underparts are a paler cream with greyish scalloping and barring, and a hint of yellow on the lower belly and undertail. The bill is a stark black, eyes a deep brown, and legs an olive-brown, completing its distinctive appearance.

Identification Tips

When identifying the Spotted Bowerbird, look for the sexually monomorphic features such as the pale rufous head with grey-brown streaks and the lilac-pink crest on the nape. The amber spots on the blackish-brown upperparts and the cream underparts with greyish scalloping are also key characteristics. The black bill, dark brown eyes, and olive-brown legs will aid in confirming your sighting.

Habitat

The Spotted Bowerbird is most at home in dry, open sclerophyll woodlands with dense understories, where its plumage blends seamlessly into the surroundings. These birds have a penchant for eucalypt and brigalow-dominated habitats and are often found along riverine woodlands. They are also known to visit orchards, parks, and rural homesteads, adapting well to human-altered landscapes.

Distribution

This bird is widely distributed across the drier regions of eastern Australia, where it is locally common, though its population is believed to be waning.

Behaviour

The Spotted Bowerbird is a sedentary species, known for its complex social behaviors, including bower building and decorating, courtship displays, and vocal mimicry. It is an accomplished mimic, capable of imitating a variety of bird calls and other sounds, particularly when threatened.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the Spotted Bowerbird is diverse, including harsh churrings and complex mimicry. They can imitate the calls of predatory birds and other sounds such as the movement of large herbivores, the twang of fence wire, and the whistling flight of crested pigeons.

Breeding

Breeding season extends from July to March, with peak egg-laying from October to February. Males build avenue-bowers and engage in elaborate courtship displays, while females construct nests and provide all parental care.

Similar Species

The Spotted Bowerbird was once considered conspecific with the Western Bowerbird, but they are now recognized as separate species.

Diet and Feeding

Their diet primarily consists of fruit, flowers, and seeds, supplemented with arthropods. They forage alone or in small groups and may also feed on food scraps from human habitation.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List categorizes the Spotted Bowerbird as Least Concern, but the species is thought to be in decline with local extinctions noted. Threats include illegal shooting, predation by introduced species, and habitat destruction.

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Spotted Bowerbirds on Birda

Sightings
A map showing the sighting location
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John Keep
03 May 2024 - 7:06am
Australia

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