bow·​er·​bird | \ ˈbau̇(-ə)r-ˌbərd How to pronounce bowerbird (audio) \

Definition of bowerbird

: any of a family (Ptilonorhynchidae) of passerine birds of Australia and New Guinea in which the male builds a chamber or passage arched over with twigs and grasses, often adorned with bright-colored objects, and used especially to attract the female

Examples of bowerbird in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the wrong hands, this approach might have yielded 21 hodgepodges, but Mr. Preston uses it so deftly that each chapter is like the seductive arrangement of some clever Papuan bowerbird. Ben Downing, WSJ, "‘As Kingfishers Catch Fire’ Review: Flights of Fancy," 16 Nov. 2018 Among the missing skins were rare and precious quetzals and cotingas, from Central and South America; and bowerbirds, Indian crows and birds of paradise that Alfred Russel Wallace had shipped over from New Guinea. Franz Lidz, Smithsonian, "The Great Feather Heist," 21 Mar. 2018 The male bowerbird spends most of his life trying to create a bower that will draw in his mate. National Geographic, "Here's Why 'Birdbrain' Should Be a Compliment," 15 May 2016 In bowerbirds, for example, females have used choice preferences to make males less aggressive and more amenable. Michael Forsberg, National Geographic, "Why It Matters Who Females Choose to Have Sex With," 18 June 2017 This is shown in bowerbirds: Females receive dramatic and even violent displays because those displays are stimulating and because the females can keep their autonomy intact. Michael Forsberg, National Geographic, "Why It Matters Who Females Choose to Have Sex With," 18 June 2017 If ducks reflect our cultural present, bowerbirds may illuminate both our evolutionary origins and our social future. Richard O. Prum, The New Yorker, "Duck Sex and the Patriarchy," 17 May 2017 A few species, such black wheateaters and bowerbirds, are already known to use nest design in courtship displays. Brandon Keim, WIRED, "Hidden Messages Found in Bird Nest Decorations," 20 Jan. 2011

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bowerbird.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of bowerbird

1841, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bowerbird

Time Traveler for bowerbird

Time Traveler

The first known use of bowerbird was in 1841

See more words from the same year

Statistics for bowerbird

Cite this Entry

“Bowerbird.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on bowerbird Encyclopedia article about bowerbird

Comments on bowerbird

What made you want to look up bowerbird? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!