Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Finally some evidence of why the (Blue) Satin Bower Bird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) is violaceus by name and blue by collecting habit.

From a distance (and they keep their distance) the male looks quite black, the yellow beak the only colour at first notice, not unlike a plump English black bird. Inevitably, depending on the head tilt, the light, some slight movement, and certainly in flight, you notice an aura of voilet, a deep rich violet but just from where is less certain. It's a private colour this serial polygamist reserves for courting, with fixed leg dancing, wild head movements and flashing eyes, to seduce her into his bower.

Here he is looking quite chuffed, preening just outside our window, all fluffed up, and I suspect postcoital.

Focus isn't one of my strong points but you get the effect. By comparison, the female is a rather drab grey green affair.

I've become a bit obsessed with them at the moment, here and there, but not as much as with Sibelius 7th - that's another story.

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