Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise

Birds of Paradise

Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise

 © William T. Cooper

Common name

Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise

Scientific name

Seleucidis melanoleuca

Etymology

Seleucidis (Latin, migrant birds sent by gods to destroy locusts (i.e. birds of paradise); melanoleuca (Greek, black and white); common name refers to wire-like feathers on flanks.

Description

Sexually dimorphic. Adult male, 33 cm; female, 35 cm. Male has velvety black head and upperparts, green-tipped lower breast feathers; underparts and flank plumes yellow (colour soon lost after death); extending from flank plumes on each side are 6 black ‘wires’, which curl back upward. Adult female drab with uniform blackish bars on the underparts. Both sexes have large bright pink legs, feet and eyes.

Diet

Fruits, arthropods, frogs and insects; also nectar.

Habitat

Flat lowlands and swamp forests; 0-180m.

Courtship

Polygynous. Displays from at least July to January. Solitary males display at traditional perches, usually on tree stump. Male approaches female, pecks at her, pulsates breast shield and exposes pink thighs; he then perches above female, sways from side to side, hopping from foot to foot and swiping her with its wires.

Breeding

Breeding season encompasses most months across range. Females build and attend to nests alone. Incubation 20 days. Known to hybridise with Magnificent and Lesser Birds of Paradise.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened; has extensive range and habitat, much inaccessible.

Distribution

New Guinea: throughout lowlands except north-east and far east; Salawati Island.
 


Michael Hugill , Online Producer
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