Magnificent Riflebird

Birds of Paradise

Magnificent Riflebird

 © William T. Cooper

Common name

Magnificent Riflebird

Scientific name

Ptiloris magnificus

Etymology

Ptiloris (Greek, feathered nose, alluding to feathers at base of upper bill); magnificus (Latin, magnificent, splendid); common name allegedly based on fancied resemblance of colouration of plumage to uniforms of British riflemen.

Description

Sexually dimorphic. Males, 34 cm; females, 28 cm. Adult males black with an metallic blue-green iridescent crown and breast shield formed by narrow line from throat, broadening to chest. Adult females are brown on head, upperparts and tail, with pale off-white eye stripe and underparts, with dark barrings.

Diet

Mainly fruit with some insects and other small animals.

Habitat

Lowland, hill and mid montane forests, swamps, monsoons, forest edges and gallery forests; 0-700m, locally to 1450m.

Courtship

Polygynous. Display season is late wet season through to dry season (April-September). Solitary males display from traditional perches. Courtship display involves male rocking side to side and up and down, and hopping towards and away from female.

Breeding

Breeding season June-February across species’ range. Only females build and attend nests. Incubation, nestling and development periods unknown. Known to hybridise with Superb, Twelve-wired and Lesser Birds of Paradise.

Status and conservation

Not threatened; common and rather tolerant of selectively logged forests.

Distribution

New Guinea: lowland and hill forests; Australia: northern Cape York Peninsula.
 


Michael Hugill , Online Producer
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