Ptilonorhynchus violaceus

Description

Mature males have violet-blue eyes and are uniformly coloured black, however, light diffraction by the surface texture of the feathers results in an almost metallic sheen giving a deep shiny blue appearance. Immature males are coloured and marked the same as females and are often mistaken for them.

Females might be mistaken for the green catbird or spotted catbird with distinctively green/brown or otherwise entirely brown upper body and lighter under body with a distinct reticulated or scalloped pattern, but with very striking blue eyes.

Distribution

The Satin Bowerbird is common in eastern Australia from southern Queensland to Victoria. There is also an isolated population in the Wet Tropics of north Queensland.

Lifespan

It is estimated that the average lifespan of the Satin Bowerbird is around 8 or 9 years.

Size

The size of the Satin Bowerbird is 28 - 34 centimetres in length, with a average weight of 205 grams.

Diet

The Satin Bowerbird are predominantly frugivorous as adults, though they also eat leaves and a small amount of seeds and insects. As nestlings, however, they are mostly fed beetles, grasshoppers and cicadas until they can fly.

Habitat

The Satin Bowerbird is common in areas of its range and found in rainforest and tall wet sclerophyll forests.

Breeding

Males build specialised stick structures, called bowers, which they decorate with blue shiny objects, including berries, flowers, and plastic items such as ballpoint pens, drinking straws and clothes pegs. Females visit these and choose which male they will allow to mate with them. Satin Bowerbirds nest between October and February. Typically, 2 but occasionally 1 or 3 eggs are laid in a shallow nest of twigs. Incubation lasts for around 21 days.