Lesser Bird of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

Lesser Bird of Paradise

 © William T. Cooper

Common name

Lesser Bird of Paradise

Scientific name

Paradisaea minor

Etymology

Paradisaea (Latin, paradise); minor (Latin, lesser); common name contrasts its smaller size with the similar but larger Greater Bird of Paradise.

Description

Sexually dimorphic. Both sexes average 32 cm in length (excluding central tail wires). Adult male has yellow head and back, iridescent green throat, body and wings brown, other than yellow stripe on lesser coverts, elongated yellow filamental flank plumes and elongated tail feathers reduced to fine brown ‘wires’. The adult female has dark brown head, buff-yellow nape and mantle, mid to dark brown upperparts and white underparts.

Diet

Mostly fruit; includes arthropods.

Habitat

Lowland and hill forest, swamp forest, forest edges and secondary growth; adapt to human-modified environments; 0-1550m.

Courtship

Polygynous. Lekking males attend traditional tree perches that they defoliate. Up to 12 adult males may display in single lek tree, often with several female-plumaged young males in attendance. Dominant and older males occupy centre of lek and perform most copulations. Male briefly holds wings in front of body and throws flank plumes over back, then hops up and back along perch raising or lowering bill on each trip; he again raises plumes over back before moving to low point of perch and hanging facing downwards with plumes out; male lowers body along perch, extends wings, erects plumes and hops along branch calling, followed by bending forward over perch, extending wings and plumes.

Breeding

Breeding at least July-February. Females build and attend nests alone; may lay up to 12 eggs. Nests are bulky open cups, built in tree branches.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened; common and widespread.

Distribution

New Guinea: Misool and Yapen Islands, Vogelkop and north of mainland eastward as far as mouth of Gogol River, upper Ramu River, and along the north-west coast of Huon Peninsula.
 


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