Great Bowerbird

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Ptilonorhynchus nuchalis


Size 33-38cm.

Large, active and inquisitive bird with fawn/grey head and breast. Back, dark grey/brown with pale scalloping. When displaying, they show a lilac/pink patch on the nape. Often craning the neck, bounding on the ground with half spread drooping wings and tail cocked. The call can be a wide vocal range of hisses, cackles, chirring and also mimics other birds.

Feeding Habits

Mainly fruits, berries and insects. Seldom far from water.


To attract a female, males build a bulky bower of small sticks about 50cm high and up to a metre long. Decorated with white stones, dried bones, shells, green, red and shiny objects. The female builds a nest some distance from the bower – a bowl of sticks, lined with fine twigs built in dense shrubbery. She cares for the young alone.

Places to Look

Near water, eucalyptus woodlands, dense thickets, mangroves, vine scrub, parks and gardens.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

© NQ Dry Tropics 2015
© Birdlife Townsville 2008
© Birdlife Townsville 2008
© Birdlife Townsville 2008

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