Brown Sicklebill

Birds of Paradise

Brown Sicklebill

 © William T. Cooper

Common name

Brown Sicklebill

Scientific name

Epimachus meyeri

Etymology

Epimachus (Greek, equipped to fight; i.e. allusion to sword-like bill); meyeri (named for AB Meyer, ornithologist Dresden Museum).

Description

Sexually dimorphic. Adult males, 96 cm with central tail feathers; females 52 cm; large sickle-shaped bill. Male with head feathers with blue-green iridescence, mantle to upper tail purple, breast dark brown, elongated purple-tipped plumes along side of chest and tail feathers metallic blue-green. Female brown and lacks in iridescence.

Diet

Fruits and animals, mainly arthropods and insects.

Habitat

Mid montane and upper montane forests, including moss and disturbed forests, secondary growth and forest edges; 1500-3200m, mainly 1900-2900m.

Courtship

Polygynous. Solitary males display and sing at one or more traditional perches. Displays recorded February, May-August and September-December. Males incorporate static posture, pumping, leaning, upright postures where body is erect, tail slightly opened and flank plumes encircle body. Male also rotates body with a series of short jerks.

Breeding

Breeding at least April-January. Females build and attend to nests alone. Incubation, nestling and development unknown. Known to hybridise with Ribbon-tailed Astrapia in captivity.

Status and conservation

Not threatened; occurs at altitude above most clearing for agriculture.

Distribution

New Guinea: central ranges from Weyland Mountains to extreme south-eastern Owen Stanley Mountains.
 


Michael Hugill , Online Producer
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