Family Bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchidae)

Least Concern

Great Bowerbird (Chlamydera nuchalis)


French: Jardinier à nuque rose German: Graulaubenvogel Spanish: Pergolero grande

Ptilonorhynchus nuchalis

Jardine and Selby

, 1830,

Port Darwin district, Northern Territory, Australia


Hybridization with C. maculata recorded SE of Charters Towers (E Queensland). Proposed race oweni (Point Torment, in N Western Australia) included in nominate, and yorki (Utingu, in extreme N Queensland) in orientalis. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. n. nuchalis (Jardine & Selby, 1830) – N Western Australia (Kimberley Division) E, including numerous offshore islands (among them Melville I and Groote Eylandt I), to N Northern Territory and extreme NW Queensland.
  • C. n. orientalis Gould, 1879 – Queensland (except extreme NW) S in W to c. 20° S and in E to Clermont and Connors Range (generally absent from humid coast in Cardwell–Tully region and E watershed of wet tropics).
  • Descriptive notes

    35 cm; male 180–265 g, female 153–215 g. Male nominate race is entirely brownish-grey, slightly darker and greyer on chin, throat, upper chest and upperparts;... read more


    Male's advertisement song, courtship calls and other calls include loud harsh notes, explosive... read more


    Eucalypt (Eucalyptus) forest and woodland, particularly riverine forest and thicket within... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits, flowers, nectar, green vegetables, animals (mostly insects), seeds, and food scraps; figs (Ficus) a major component of... read more


    Recorded in all months except Apr and Jun across range, peak of egg-laying Oct–Nov and nestling presence Oct–Mar; display... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally common to fairly common. Appears possibly to have declined in S Atherton Tableland area of N Queensland since c.1940. Can cause damage in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Frith, C. & Frith, D. (2020). Great Bowerbird (Chlamydera nuchalis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 February 2020).