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North Queensland Naturalist 46 (2016): 108-114

Bowerbird display site nomenclature: The court case for the Tooth-billed Bowerbird


Clifford B. Frith




The male Tooth-billed Bowerbird clears a display court on the ground. Some authors have erroneously referred to this court as a bower. This is incorrect and confusing from the English language, scientific, and ornithological literature points of view. The reasons for this misuse of the word bower are explained and discussed, and another example of how such inappropriate nomenclature have persisted in the bowerbird literature is detailed. The recent standard and widely used nomenclature for bowerbird display sites is provided. In addition, the males of Tooth-billed and one or two other bowerbirds have been described as forming exploded leks at their display sites, but this has never been unequivocally demonstrated, for reasons detailed and discussed.

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