Birds of Paradise
Ptiloris (Greek, feathered nose, alluding to feathers at base of upper bill); paradiseus (Latin, paradise); common name allegedly based on fancied resemblance of colouration of plumage to uniforms of British riflemen.
Sexually dimorphic. Males, 30 cm; females, 29 cm. Adult male jet black with greenish blue iridescent crown and triangular breast shield, underparts with iridescent oily green sheen, central pair of tail feathers iridescent greenish blue above. Adult females rufous-brown above, with broad pale stripe across top of head to rear of head and underparts light cinnamon with dark brown chevrons.
Fruit and animals, mainly insects and spiders.
Subtropical and temperate rainforests, wet sclerophyll and dry sclerophyll forests to over 1 km from rainforest; most common above 500 m, occasionally below 200m, rarely to sea level in winter.
Polygynous. Display season August-December. Males solitary and display at traditional perches dispersed through forest. In display, males assume static pose and dance, swaying legs, moving wings and pectoral shields and gaping mouth to show bright inner lining.
Breeding occurs August-February, peaking September-January. Only female builds and attends nest. Incubation 18-19 days; nestling period at least 21 days. Hybridisation not possible as this species does not occur with any other bird of paradise.
Status and conservation
Not threatened, although substantial areas of habitat lost to clearing.
Australia: subtropical forests of Australian Great Dividing Range, south from Rockhampton (Calliope Range), Queensland, to just north of Newcastle, New South Wales.
Michael Hugill , Online Producer