Re: FW: [canberrabirds] Satin Bowerbirds - Yellow and Blue Objects

To: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Subject: Re: FW: [canberrabirds] Satin Bowerbirds - Yellow and Blue Objects
From: Richard Lane <>
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2018 10:14:31 +0000
Many thanks - I feel far better now that the subject has been discussed. I was wondering if I was seeing anomalies, but the practice of including yellow objects seems to be quite widespread.

... Richard Lane

On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 4:57 PM, Geoffrey Dabb <> wrote:

I have many snaps of males holding blue and yellow objects either separately or both together.  This is done throughout the year, not necessarily as part of a breeding process, sometimes for an audience of younger males which then imitate the behaviour. I would interpret the behaviour as ‘display’, not courtship gift offering.  Given the blue and yellow preference, I believe choice of actual object depends on availability. The usual yellow object in my garden is a flower or petal or (more usually) a dry leaf of the variegated pittosporum overhead.  The 2-colour display is when the bird is most animated.  I recently saw a male with a less usual yellow object  -  will try to find.





From: Richard Lane <>
Sent: Wednesday, 1 August 2018 2:12 PM
To: Canberra Ornithologists Group <m("","canberrabirds");" target="_blank">>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Satin Bowerbirds - Yellow and Blue Objects


Hello Jack and Geoff and others


I have photographs from two separate and geographically distinct performances (not just tidying up etc.), and they show males presenting both blue and yellow objects. 


For interest, I did a Google search for "male Satin Bowerbird performing" and then selected the "images" option. It revealed a remarkably high percentage of both blue and yellow objects when the image showed a male performing with something in its beak. Fascinating.


Regards ... Richard Lane




On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 8:17 AM, Jack & Andrea Holland <> wrote:

Hello Richard,  about 15 years ago I published on the Satin Bowerbird also liking yellow objects in addition to the traditional blue ones [see p90 of my article in CBN 28, pp87-95 (2003)].  While I have since seen further examples of this, I can’t recall them actually being used while the bowerbird was performing as opposed to decorations around the bower, often leaves or straws at the front, but also Sulphur-crested Cockatoo crest feathers (as in Geoffrey’s photo).  As I noted in my article how they manage to collect so many of these feathers is unclear.


Jack Holland


From: Richard Lane

Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 7:12 PM

To: Canberra Ornithologists Group

Subject: [canberrabirds] Satin Bowerbirds - Yellow and Blue Objects


Seeing this, I was reminded that all of the male Satin Bowerbirds that I have seen performing (which is not a statistically significant number but photographs illustrating this can be supplied upon request) have been carrying both a yellow object and a blue object with their beak. Why is their penchant for blue objects always noted in the literature, whilst I have not read anywhere about the yellow objects that they present to females ?



... Richard Lane



On Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 5:46 PM, Geoffrey Dabb <> wrote:




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