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Flying Casanovas

Program Overview


NOVA follows David Attenborough through the forests of Australia and New Guinea, tracking and observing the unique mating practices of male bowerbirds, which arrange inanimate objects and build intricate structures to attract females.

The program:

  • shows how bowerbirds build a bower by gathering and arranging leaves, twigs, insect leaves, feathers, flowers, and other objects, and how they behave in the presence of a female.

  • documents the wide variety of bower-building practices, from simple arrangements of leaves to elaborate decorative displays and enormous structures.

  • presents several instances of mating behavior, in which the female approaches and inspects the bower, and the male sings and displays his plumage and treasures.

  • captures footage of thievery and vandalism by rival bowerbirds possibly attempting to detract from the appearance of their neighbors' bowers.

  • raises questions about the possibility that these birds possess a true artistic and aesthetic sense, based on their apparent care and deliberation in building their bowers.

Teacher's Guide
Flying Casanovas
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