Birds of Paradise
Astrapia (Greek, flashing or lightning); mayeri (named for FW Shaw Meyer, naturalist and collector)
Sexually dimorphic. Adult males, 125 cm (including central tail feathers); females, 35 cm. Adult male has jet black head with intense sheen of metallic green to purple, remaining upperparts black with olive-green sheen and tail with long, narrow white central feathers. Adult female duller blackish-brown and tail feathers have white smudges running down their lengths.
Fruit, especially from the Umbrella Tree, and insects, spiders and frogs.
Upper montane and subalpine moss forests and forest edges; 1800-3450 m, mainly above 2450m.
Polygynous. Displays commonly occur during June, August and December. Forms leks in which males display from traditional perches, jumping back and forth between branches with erect, arched tail feathers.
Breeding recorded May-March. Females build and attend nests alone. It repeatedly builds the nest in the same spot and site. Incubation period approximately 21; nestling period 25-29 days. Known to hybridise with Stephanie’s Astrapia at lower altitudinal areas.
Status and conservation
Near-threatened; restricted range but relatively common and much of range is uninhabited and inaccessible.
Papua New Guinea: Mounts Hagen and Giluwe west through Enga highlands to Doma Peaks, Porgera and Mount Liwaro highlands, west to Strickland River including Karius and Muller Ranges.
Michael Hugill , Online Producer