Western Bowerbird, Ptilonorhynchus guttatus Click to enlarge image
Western Bowerbird, Ptilonorhynchus guttatus Image: leitchbird

Fast Facts

  • IUCN Conservation Status
  • Classification
  • Size Range
    25 cm to 28 cm

Their bowers may be decorated with many things the male finds attractive. The decorations in one bower found near Alice Springs weighed 7.4 kg with 1427 bone fragments, many snail shells, pebbles and bits of glass.

What do Western Bowerbirds look like?


This is a medium-sized stocky bowerbird with a rounded head and rather long neck. Adults are mainly dark on the head, neck and upper body, heavily marked with buff to rufous spots. The yellowish underbody has reddish scalloping. Males have a pink nuchal crest, smaller in females. The bill is slightly down-curved, hooked at the tip. Long legs are feathered at the top, looking like warm trousers. They are also known as the Spotted Bowerbird or Mimic-bird.

Where do Western Bowerbirds live?


Western Bowerbirds are found in open riverine woodland and shrub thickets in arid zones, in rocky gorges and ranges, near water. They also visit gardens, parks and camping areas.


This bowerbird is endemic (found only there) to Central Australia and mid-central inland and semi-arid Western Australia.

What do Western Bowerbirds eat and how do they communicate?

Feeding and diet

Bowerbirds forage in shrubs or trees for fruit and hop busily across the ground, searching for fruit, insects and seeds. They particularly like Rock Figs.


Churring, hissing and grating calls, with mimicry of bird calls and other sounds.

What are Western Bowerbirds breeding behaviours?

Breeding Behaviour/s

Females alone build the nest, incubate and care for the young. The nest (which is not the bower) is built in a shrub or tree and is a shallow bowl of twigs, sticks and dry vine tendrils, lined with finer materials. Little is known about their breeding cycle. Males are promiscuous, trying to attract many mates with their bowers, which are quite big avenues of sticks and grass stems. The decorations are mainly white and green and the males spend a lot of time collecting and arranging their finds: bones, shells, seed-pods, small stones and things found in gardens. The male displays at his bowers, with an amazing performance of churring sounds and mimicry, flicking his wings and showing his bright pink nuchal crest.

Breeding Season: July - February.


Though they may move about locally searching for fruit and water they are thought to be resident or sedentary.

Economic/social impacts

Bowerbirds can be a nuisance in gardens and orchards and are occasionally shot illegally as pests.