The Satin Bower-Bird of Australia
The Satin Bower-Bird was one of the earliest known
species in the Australian fauna, and probably received
the name of Satin Grakle, by which it was
described in Latham's "General History of Birds," from
the intensely black glossy plumage of the adult male.
But, although the existence of this bird was noticed by
most of the writers on the natural history of Australia
subsequent to Latham, it appears that no suspicion of its singular economy had
extended beyond the remotest settlers, until Mr. Gould, whose great
work on the "Birds of Australia" is known to every one,
unravelled the history of the bowers, which had been
discovered in many parts of the bush, and which had been attributed
to almost every possible origin but the right one.
The bower, as will be seen by the Illustration, is composed of
twigs woven together in the most compact manner, and ornamented with
shells and feathers, the disposition of which the birds are
continually altering. They have no connexion with the nest, and are
simply playing-places, in which the birds divert themselves during
the months which precede nidification.
The birds themselves are nearly as large as a jackdaw. The female
is green in colour, the centre of the breast feathers yellowish; the
unmoulted plumage of the male is similar: the eyes of both are