Pale-billed Sicklebill

Birds of Paradise

Pale-billed Sicklebill

Pale-billed Sicklebill
Photographer:  © William T. Cooper

Common name

Pale-billed Sicklebill

Scientific name

Drepanornsis bruijnii


Drepanornis (Greek, sickle bird); bruijnii (named after Dutch plume trade merchant AA Bruijn); common name draws attention to pale bill that separates this from other sicklebill species.


Sexually dimorphic. Male, 35 cm; female, 34 cm. Sexually dimorphic. Adult male, 35 cm long; adult female, 33 cm. Adult male has head black, with naked blue facial patch and blue to purple iridescent feathers below eye, upperparts greyish brown, upper breast dark olive with longer pectoral feathers tipped with iridescent green, longer pectoral plumes tipped purple, shorter ones coppery red and remainder of underparts lavender-grey and tail russet. Adult female has upperparts similar to male but paler and more buff and lacks iridescence, underparts buff and pale cinnamon with blackish-brown bars. Both sexes have long, pale curved bill.


Mainly fruits, and arthropods.


Lowland rainforests, disturbed areas and logged forests; 0-180m.


Polygynous. Display recorded in August. Solitary male displays from traditional sites; patrols territory daily, counter displaying to rivals. Little known about courtship other than male adopts static posture and fans pectoral and flank feathers and tail with mouth agape.


Breeding unknown. No hybridisation reported.

Status and conservation

Near threatened; restricted range, poorly known, but possibly locally common.


New Guinea: eastern Geelvink Bay east through Meervlakte and presumably Idenburg Basin and north coastal lowlands to Vanimo area and north-western reaches of Sepik River drainage.

Michael Hugill , Online Producer (Content Strategy & Social Media)
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