Buff-tailed Sicklebill

Birds of Paradise

Buff-tailed Sicklebill

 © William T. Cooper

Common name

Buff-tailed Sicklebill

Scientific name

Drepanornsis albertisi

Etymology

Drepanornis (Greek, sickle bird); albertisi (named after Italian naturalist and explorer, LM D’Albertis)

Description

Sexually dimorphic. Adult male, 35 cm long; adult female, 33 cm. Male has cinnamon brown head with iridescent purple feathers on crown, elongated forecrown feathers forming ‘horns’ above eyes, upperparts and tail cinnamon-brown, underparts sooty grey with band of purple iridescent-tipped feathers separating upper and lower breast. Adult female similar above but lacks iridescence; throat and underparts pale brown to off-white with narrow dark barring.

Diet

Primarily insect, also fruits.

Habitat

Mid montane forests, also logged areas and forest edges; 600-2250m, mainly 1100-1900m.

Courtship

Polygynous. Display season varies geographically: at least May-November across range. Solitary male displays from traditional perch maintained throughout year as all purpose area. Male leans backwards, expanding flank plumes into fan and spreading pectoral plumes around back of head; he then sits up and calls, before rotating backwards until hanging below perch.

Breeding

Breeding at least September-December. Female builds and attends to the nest alone. Incubation, nestling and development periods unknown. Not known to hybridise with other species.

Status and conservation

Not threatened, but not abundant anywhere in range; no immediate risk, but should be monitored.

Distribution

New Guinea: mountain ranges, including central cordillera, those of Huon and Bird’s Head Peninsulas, and Foja, Fakfak and Kumawa Mountains.
 


Michael Hugill , Online Producer (Content Strategy & Social Media)
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