Winner of the 2008 Whitley Award in the category of 'Field Natural History'. This prestigious award is given by the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales for outstanding publications that deal with the promotion and conservation of Australasian fauna.
This is the authoritative, comprehensive and definitive popular work on bowerbirds. Bowerbirds are the most remarkable and fascinating of living birds because of their amazingly human-like, complex, and artistic behavior.
Males build architecturally complex structures, called bowers. Some bowers are like miniature buildings and are artistically decorated with flowers, fruits, bones, shells, feathers and much more, including numerous human artifacts. Birds even paint their bowers, some applying pigment to bower walls by the use of a tool! Males vigorously compete by destroying each other’s bowers and by stealing bower decorations from one another. All this is performed to attract, court, and mate females at bowers. But it is very much the females that have the males jumping through hoops for them!
So incredible is much of what bowerbirds do that early bird authorities suggested they be given a class of their own, just as humans were held apart from other animals. They were once thought to be far more intelligent than other birds, and while this is no longer considered true recent research has shown they have larger brains than similar songbirds of their region (Australia and New Guinea only).
It contains exceptionally high quality photography of, often rare, wild birds is complimented by great and rare bird art of the 19th century – all presented in an interesting and novel design.
About the authors:
Clifford and Dawn Frith both have doctorate awards in biology and have studied the bowerbirds and aspects of their habitats over the past 30 years. They have published some 40 scientific papers about bowerbirds, jointly authored the definitive scientific treatise on bowerbirds, and are acknowledged world authorities on all aspects of the birds, their architecture, art and behavior. In this new book they extend their interest in the birds to also cover the history of their discover and the colorful people involved, and bowerbirds in human culture. The result is as visually attractive as it is fascinating.