Re: Satin Bower-bird calls

To: Gerry Borgia <>
Subject: Re: Satin Bower-bird calls
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 06:03:44 +1000
Dear Gerry,

              Regretfully, I can't help you with your Satin Bowerbird (SBb) calls.  My interest in bird song recording has been largely restricted to lyrebirds and in particular, Albert's Lyrebirds.  

Both species of lyrebirds use SBb calls in their mimicry, the Albert's more so than the Superb.

Albert's weave the mimicked sounds into a stereotyped song about 50 seconds long, which may be repeated over and over without a break, and with all the mimicked sounds coming in the same order each time.  All the males in a particular locality have the same mimicry sequence.

All use SBb calls - two types of bower song and the loud advertising call.  Almost certainly they faithfully reproduce the local SBb dialect, though young male lyrebirds learn to sing by copying old male lyrebirds, and not by copying other species directly.  I happen to know Tamborine Mt and the O'Reilly's section of Lamington very well - well enough to know that on Tamborine the SBb advertising call is a loud downward glissando note, but at O'Reilly's the pitch of the note first rises then falls.  The lyrebirds in the two areas use the local call to perfection.

I'll copy this email to <birding-aus> in case anyone subscribing to that mailing list can help you.  I know several members of "AudioWings", the Australian Wildlife Sound Recording Group, are subscribers.

BTW, back in the mid-'60s the Q. N.Parks administration had a Zoologist doing a fauna survey of Lamington NP.  He reported that a Satin Bowerbird (at O'Reilly's, I think) often mimicked the piping call of a Lewin's Honeyeater, superimposing this on his 'churring' bower song which continued without break during the honeyeater mimicry.  Presumably, the SBb was using one side of his syrinx for his own song and the other for the mimicked call.

Sorry I can't be of more help.


From: Gerry Borgia <>
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2002 13:45:55 -0400
Subject: bird calls

Dear Syd,

I saw your notice on and that you have an interest in and record bird songs.  I have a student working with me who is interested in geographic variation in satin bowerbird courtship calls. We have stacks of recordings from northern NSW where we have been studying these birds for 20+ years.  We are trying to find recordings from other localities to see if this project is reasonable.  Do you have any or know of anyone who has such recordings and would be willing to lend them to us?  Your help would be much appreciated.

If you want to know more about our work you can visit our lab web site at:
Gerry Borgia

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