Victoria’s Riflebird

Birds of Paradise

Victoria's Riflebird

 © William T. Cooper

Common name

Victoria’s Riflebird

Scientific name

Ptiloris victoriae

Etymology

Ptiloris (Greek, feathered nose, alluding to feathers at base of upper bill); victoriae (named for Queen Victoria of England); common name allegedly based on fancied resemblance of colouration of plumage to uniforms of British riflemen.

Description

Sexually dimorphic. Adults, 23 cm. Adult males jet black with iridescent greenish blue crown and breast shield, underparts with bronze-yellow sheen and central pair of tail feather greenish blue. Female greyish brown above, with narrow pale line above eye and underparts rich cinnamon with small dark chevrons.

Diet

Small animals, including insects, insect larvae and spiders, and fruit.

Habitat

Lowland to hill rainforests, in eucalypt and melaleuca wet sclerophyll and swamp woodlands, occasionally in gardens and mangroves; 0-1200m.

Courtship

Polygynous. Solitary male displays and sings at traditional perches, defending these sites from other males each season (July-December). Ccourtship begins with static posture, which develops into several movements and postures. Twisting wings and swinging head, male moves towards female and claps wings aggressively, encircling and almost hitting her with wings.

Breeding

Breeding occurs least August-February. Only female builds and attends to nest, which is built 20 m from ground, in new foliage atop broken tree stump or branch. Incubation 18-19 days; nestling period of 13-15 days. No known hybridisation; does not share habitat with any other bird of paradise.

Status and conservation

Not threatened.

Distribution

Australia: north-eastern Queensland: Wet Tropics, or Atherton Region, from Big Tableland south of Cooktown southward to Mount Elliot (and some off-shore islands).
 


Michael Hugill , Online Producer
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