Great Bowerbird Catching A Grasshopper

On Tuesday 13th April 1993 I was working in my office at the Argyle Diamond Mine when my attention was drawn to a Great Bowerbird outside.  Great Bowerbirds are common, but this one was bouncing along the path with hops of up to one metre for about 20 metres.  It then picked something up and shook it.

I observed through my binoculars that it had a large (about 10cm) green grasshopper held by one wing which broke off.  It then picked up the grasshopper by the other wing and shook it loose.  The bowerbird then picked up the grasshopper, shook it briefly, dropped it on the path, and then appeared to jump on it.  This all took place over a period of about one minute.

Next, a "ta ta" lizard (Gilbert's Dragon) (about 30cm long but mostly tail) raced up, swallowed the grasshopper in one bite and raced away.  The bowerbird looked shocked, bounced a couple of times after the lizard and gave up.  The look of the bowerbird made me laugh.

The bowerbird's plumage looked cleaner and neater than any I had seen previously, with its lilac crest very evident but not raised.  I had not seen a bowerbird catching insects previously, and I was surprised that it was 'inexperienced' to let the lizard (which is common) have a chance.

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002