The Bowerbirds: Ptilonorhynchidae

Hardcover | March 1, 2004

byClifford Frith, Dawn Frith, Eustace Barnes

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The bowerbirds are confined to the great island of New Guinea and the island continent of Australia, and their immediately adjacent islands. They are medium-sized birds, omnivorous and largely solitary. They are unique in the avian world in that the males build elaborate 'bowers': structuresof sticks, grasses or other plant stems on or close to the ground for display and courtship, often incorporating objects such as colourful fruits, flowers, feathers, bones, stones, shells, insect skeletons, and numerous other natural (and human-made) objects. The highly sophisticated building, decorating, collecting, arranging, thieving, 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 suchactivities for their own sake. The bowers and the birds' behaviour associated with them have been much studied by behavioural ecologists searching for evolutionary and ecological explanations of behavioural patterns. The authors' aims include: (a) making the reader aware of the broader significance of bowerbirds to general biological studies and (b) providing references to key literature on theoretical issues.Part I contains general chapters on bowerbird evolution, behaviour, environment, demography, courtship patterns, breeding biology, and sexual selection. Part II follows with 21 species accounts, giving comprehensive information on the birds in their natural state, including distribution maps andsonographs. Complementing the species accounts are superb colour plates by Eustace Barnes, especially commissioned for this volume. The Bowerbirds, like its companions in the series, is an indispensable work of reference for everyone interested in birds.

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The bowerbirds are confined to the great island of New Guinea and the island continent of Australia, and their immediately adjacent islands. They are medium-sized birds, omnivorous and largely solitary. They are unique in the avian world in that the males build elaborate 'bowers': structuresof sticks, grasses or other plant stems on or...

Clifford Frith is the author of a highly-respected companion volume in the Bird Families of the World series, The Birds of Paradise. Clifford's early ornithological positions included the The Natural History Museum, London, and the Royal Society of London Research Station, Aldabra Atoll, Indian Ocean. He obtained his PhD at Griffith ...

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Format:HardcoverPublished:March 1, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198548443

ISBN - 13:9780198548447

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Table of Contents

List of colour platesList of abbreviationsPlan of the bookDiagrams of bird topographyMap showing some locations mentioned in the textBoundaries of the regional maps used in the species accounts of Chapter 8PART I General chapters1. The bowerbirds--an introduction2. Systematics and biogeography3. Ecological cycles, foraging, and other behaviour4. Morphology, demography, bower sites, structures, and their significance5. Bower site acquisition, fidelity, attendance, and courtship displays6. Breeding biology and parental care7. Evolution of mating systems and sexual selectionPART II Family, genus, and species accounts8. Family PTILONORHYNCHIDAE 20 species in 8 generaAppendicesGlossaryBibliographyIndex