mimicry question

To: Philip Veerman <>
Subject: mimicry question
From: Filipio Gwynne <>
Date: Sun, 13 May 2018 12:47:25 +0000
Thanks Philip.  I recall reading a detailed review article several years ago which concluded that the evidence for various hypotheses concerning the usefulness of avian vocal mimicry was actually pretty scant, certainly far from conclusive in any direction. Nonetheless, I retained an impression from somewhere that the sexual selection explanation may have been on somewhat firmer ground in relation to Bowerbirds (Satin in particular) -- i.e. males being favoured by the size and/or novelty of the repertoire they use in display.  

So, it seems no easy give-away for the sex of this bird or others like it that visit my garden in the period before the male's bill starts to become pale.


On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 6:07 PM, Philip Veerman <> wrote:

Good question. I was going to give a comment on this, as it raises lots of interesting and related questions, like about various possible strategies, and I have a long interest in this. However, before doing so, I just now checked in HANZAB and fortunately that describes that yes both sexes of Satin Bowerbird engage in vocal mimicry. (I did not know, but that is the answer I expected).




From: Filipio Gwynne [mailto:m("","filipio.gwynne");" target="_blank">com]
Sent: Wednesday, 9 May, 2018 2:45 PM
To: COG List
Subject: [canberrabirds] mimicry question


Trying to spot an occasional softly but characteristically creaking Gang-gang in my Cook backyard yesterday, it remained stubbornly elusive as I seemed to hone in on a quite unlikely-looking dense leafy shrub. When it suddenly seemed an alarmed magpie-lark must have been keeping it very close company, I realised I was actually closing in on a Satin Bowerbird running through its mimicry repertoire.  And there it was - a Female or Juvenile Male. Spent a nice additional 10 mins or so listening as it seemed to warm up -- sure there was a bit of a raptor call in there of some sort too, along with, perhaps, rosellas and definite noisy miners.


Can I ask someone with a HANZAB, do both sexes engage in mimicry? My own limited sources are a bit ambiguous on this, as is the internet. 




Phil Winn.

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the Canberra Ornithologists Group mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the list contact David McDonald, list manager, phone (02) 6231 8904 or email . If you can not contact David McDonald e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU