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The Bowerbirds: Ptilonorhynchidae (Bird Families of the World) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 15. April 2004

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OUP are always keen to support the text with good illustrations. The series is characterised by specially commissioned colour plates, here done by Eustace Barnes, that illustrate species, subspecies, genders and age-related plumage characteristics. In this volume, colour photographs of some of the bowers are included. Add to this clear maps and line drawings, as well as half-tone photographs by the author, and as a result The Bowerbirds becomes an attractive book that is worthy of any bookshelf ... From my own perspective, I love this book. * Avian and Poultry Biology Reviews * Oxford University Press has established itself as a leading publisher of high quality ornithology texts ... the strength of this book, and the others in the series, lies in its high scientific goal, its top quality illustration and its ability to present a wealth of information in a manner that is readily accessible to the amateur serious about learning more about ornithology not only of individual bird families but of birds as a whole. * Avian and Poultry Biology Reviews * For the time being, this is the definitive account of bowerbird biology, but it will be a fitting tribute to the Frith's ability to inspire future generations of bowerbird biologists if their excellent book soon requires a new edition. T.R. Birkhead, Ibis (2007), 149, 175-188


The bowerbirds are confined to the great island of New Guinea and the island continent of Australia, and their immediately adjacent islands. They are medium-sized birds, omnivorous and largely solitary. They are unique in the avian world in that the males build elaborate 'bowers': structures of sticks, grasses or other plant stems on or close to the ground for display and courtship, often incorporating objects such as colourful fruits, flowers, feathers, bones, stones, shells, insect skeletons, and numerous other natural (and human-made) objects. The highly sophisticated building, decorating, collecting, arranging, thieving, singing, and courtship posturing and dancing by males is primarily to attract and impress females. As much of it is performed in the absence of females, however, some consider it possible that males may also enjoy such activities for their own sake. The bowers and the birds' behaviour associated with them have been much studied by behavioural ecologists searching for evolutionary and ecological explanations of behavioural patterns.

The authors' aims include: (a) making the reader aware of the broader significance of bowerbirds to general biological studies and (b) providing references to key literature on theoretical issues. Part I contains general chapters on bowerbird evolution, behaviour, environment, demography, courtship patterns, breeding biology, and sexual selection. Part II follows with 21 species accounts, giving comprehensive information on the birds in their natural state, including distribution maps and sonographs. Complementing the species accounts are superb colour plates by Eustace Barnes, especially commissioned for this volume. The Bowerbirds, like its companions in the series, is an indispensable work of reference for everyone interested in birds.

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