Begging bowerbird?

To: 'Dr David Rosalky' <>, 'COG bird list' <>
Subject: Begging bowerbird?
From: Geoffrey Dabb <>
Date: Sat, 6 Feb 2021 23:21:44 +0000

That sounds like the usual ‘presence’ call.  Who knows how to interpret it in a particular situation?  Perhaps ‘I’m here’, perhaps a warning.  It can sometimes be prompted by a human intruder, being first sign of the bird’s presence. .   While young birds (2-6) and females can be difficult to distinguish, it is worth taking note of bill colour.  Green males (say) 3+ to 6 (begin to) acquire the paler bill.  Older immature males can exhibit territorial and display behaviour similar to adult (black) male.  By contrast with birds 2-6, I would expect a begging young to be more brownish with juv features – less finely marked, yellow gape.


From: Canberrabirds <> On Behalf Of Dr David Rosalky
Sent: Sunday, 7 February 2021 9:52 AM
To: COG bird list <>
Subject: [Canberrabirds] Begging bowerbird?


This morning I was attracted to a strange call that I was unfamiliar with.  A recording is attached.  It sounded like someone clearing one’s throat every several seconds.

I found the bird after a hunt in the canopy (not very high) of an oak tree.  It was a Satin Bowerbird.  It was scalloped all the way from its tail to its throat.  I did not get clear views of its head but I think it was brown.


I watched/listened to the bird for over 30 minutes.  It moved just short hops between adjacent branches.  I was expecting a female to come to feed it.  Finally, another bird came, but no feeding.  This second bird looked rather like the first (size, colouring etc).  They came beak to beak but no feeding reaction or feeding took place.  Then they separated and both flew off.


So, I am not sure what I was witnessing.  Was it a begging juvenile?  Were the birds siblings?  Perhaps someone might diagnose the call I recorded.


For Jack:  yesterday (Saturday) I heard what I am pretty sure was a begging Koel.  It was near the intersection of Hobart Av and National Circ in Forrest.  I didn’t have bins or the time to locate the source of the sound.  But a probable dependent Koel.


David Rosalky

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