Lives in drier woodlands, low open forest near watercourses. Sedentary and common.
Great Bowerbirds usually live alone feeding mainly on fruit and occasional insects in the crown of trees and shrubs; less commonly feeds on the ground, when on the ground this bird hops,it doesn't walk.
Loose groups gather at profusely fruiting trees. They drink daily sometimes coming to waterholes in twos and threes.
Breeding takes place from August to February, mainly from October to January. Males build bowers in loose groups; males tend the bower for much of the year, refurbishing it constantly or building a new one nearby each season. Bowers are open or over-arching avenues of twigs and grasses concealed under low foliage supported on a mat of sticks in a cleared space about 2 by 1.5 metres. The walls are up to 45 centimetres high, up to a metre long and 20 centimetres apart, aligned north-south and painted on the inside. The area is decorated with white objects.
When a female arrives the male displays with various poses and noises. Mating takes place in the bower with any number of females then the female goes far from the bower to build a nest, lay eggs and rear the young.
The nest is built in trees or shrubs 1 to 10 metres above the ground and often not well hidden; it is a flat, coarse, loosely constructed shallow cup of sticks and twigs, 24 centimetres across and 13 centimetres deep. One, possibly two, oval eggs about 42 x 29 millimetres are laid, grey-green to cream covered with purple-grey and black lines, spots and squiggles. One brood a season is reared by the female alone.