The Satin Bower-Bird of Australia

by Unknown

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.

Bower Birds.

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 brilliant blue.