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'Bowerbirds' and 'Catbirds'
The 'Bowerbirds' and 'Catbirds' belong to the family Ptilinorhychidae, a group of some 19 species restricted to Australia and New Guinea. While a few species have adapted to the drier tropical and central woodlands of Australia, they are primarily rainforest birds. They are so named because of the bowers that the males build for courtship. The males display near their structure to attract females. Many also collect objects, some species favouring particular colours. Objects may be natural, such as leaves, flowers, berries, or unnatural, including balloons, pens, string or straws. Some in this family may not build bowers, but merely present stages near which they call to attract females. And there are some in the family, the catbirds, that have not yet been recorded to build any structures. The calls of the Bowerbirds and Catbirds are usually quite distinct, with strange, often mechanically sounding clicking, buzzing and chirping.
These catbirds are not related to the American 'Gray Catbird' which is in the same family as the mockingbirds, Mimidae (Sibley 2000). However, like that bird, it is named for their cat-like calls. They live in the same patch of forest year after year, and these loud wailing calls are to establish this territory (Schodde and Tidemann 1990). They are coloured a very pretty bright leaf green on the upperparts, and have scaled breasts. They have thick, short bills and feed mainly on fruit in their rainforest habitat. Even though they are in the bowerbird family, they are not known to build bowers, and have only been recorded to occasionally pluck leaves and place them in a clearing (Schodde and Tidemann 1990). Unlike the showy, flirty bowerbirds, the catbirds form monogamous pairs. There are two species found in Australia.