Oxford Bird Families of the World Volume 10. Color plates by Eustace Barnes, drawings, photos, maps.
The bowerbirds are unique in the avian world in that the males build elaborate 'bowers': structures of sticks, grasses or other plant stems on or close to the ground, often incorporating objects such as colorful fruits, flowers, feathers, bones, stones, shells, insect skeletons, and numerous other natural (and human-made) objects.
The highly sophisticated building, decorating, arranging, singing, and courtship posturing and dancing by males is primarily to attract and impress females. As much of it is performed in the absence of females, however, some consider it possible that males may also enjoy such activities for their own sake. The bowers and the birds' behavior associated with them have been much studied by behavioral ecologists searching for evolutionary and ecological explanations of behavioral patterns.
Six specially commissioned color plates by Eustace Barnes show adults of all species and many juveniles, immatures and subspecies, plus 2 plates of color photographs; Numerous line drawings illustrating special features and behavior. Descriptions of each species individually, including appearance, weights, and measurements; field characters; voice; habitat and food; breeding behavior; life cycle; and range and status (with distribution map). This provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date species-level information available.