Birds-of-Paradise Info Sheet

Birds-of-Paradise, Beautiful Tropical Bird

The birds-of-paradise are members of the order Passeriformes’ family Paradisaeidae. The bulk of the species in this family are located on New Guinea and its satellite islands, with a few species also found in the Moluccas and eastern Australia. There are forty species in 14 genera in the family.

Birds-of-Paradise Species

Phonygamminae

  1. Genus Lycocorax
    • Paradise-crow, Lycocorax pyrrhopterus
  2. Genus Phonygammus
    • Trumpet Manucode, Phonygammus keraudrenii
  3. Genus Manucodia
    • Glossy-mantled Manucode, Manucodia atra
    • Jobi Manucode, Manucodia jobiensis
    • Crinkle-collared Manucode, Manucodia chalybata
    • Curl-crested Manucode, Manucodia comrii
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Paradisaeinae

  1. Genus Pteridophora
    • King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise, Pteridophora alberti
  2. Genus Parotia
    • Western Parotia, Parotia sefilata
    • Queen Carola’s Parotia, Parotia carolae
    • Bronze Parotia, Parotia berlepschi
    • Lawes’s Parotia, Parotia lawesii
    • Eastern Parotia, Parotia helenae
    • Wahnes’s Parotia, Parotia wahnesi
  3. Genus Seleucidis
    • Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise, Seleucidis melanoleuca
  4. Genus Drepanornis
    • Black-billed Sicklebill, Drepanornis albertisi
    • Pale-billed Sicklebill, Drepanornis bruijnii
  5. Genus Semioptera
    • Standardwing, Semioptera wallacii
  6. Genus Ptiloris
    • Paradise Riflebird, Ptiloris paradiseus
    • Victoria’s Riflebird, Ptiloris victoriae
    • Magnificent Riflebird, Ptiloris magnifica
    • Growling Riflebird, Ptiloris intercedens
  7. Genus Lophorina
    • Lesser Superb Bird-of-paradise, Lophorina minor
    • Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-paradise, Lophorina superba
    • Greater Superb Bird-of-paradise, Lophorina latipennis
  8. Genus Epimachus
    • Black Sicklebill, Epimachus fastuosus
    • Brown Sicklebill, Epimachus meyeri
  9. Genus Paradigalla
    • Long-tailed Paradigalla, Paradigalla carunculata
    • Short-tailed Paradigalla, Paradigalla brevicauda
  10. Genus Astrapia
    • Arfak Astrapia, Astrapia nigra
    • Splendid Astrapia, Astrapia splendidissima
    • Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, Astrapia mayeri
    • Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia, Astrapia stephaniae
    • Huon Astrapia, Astrapia rothschildi
  11. Genus Cicinnurus
    • King Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus regius
  12. Genus Diphyllodes
    • Magnificent Bird-of-paradise, Diphyllodes magnificus
    • Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, Diphyllodes respublica
  13. Genus Paradisaea
    • Lesser Bird-of-paradise, Paradisaea minor
    • Greater Bird-of-paradise, Paradisaea apoda
    • Raggiana Bird-of-paradise, Paradisaea raggiana
    • Goldie’s Bird-of-paradise, Paradisaea decora
    • Red Bird-of-paradise, Paradisaea rubra
    • Emperor Bird-of-paradise, Paradisaea guilielmi
    • Blue Bird-of-paradise, Paradisaea rudolphi
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Distribution

The huge island of New Guinea is the epicentre of bird-of-paradise variety; all but two genera are found there. The two exceptions are the monotypic genera Lycocorax and Semiptera, which are both confined to the Moluccas, to the west of New Guinea.

Two riflebirds in the genus Ptiloris are endemic to eastern Australia’s coastal woodlands, one occurs in both Australia and New Guinea, and one is only found in New Guinea. The only other genus with a species found outside of New Guinea is Manucodia, which has a representative in the far north of Queensland.

The remaining species are restricted to New Guinea and some of the surrounding islands.

Habitat

The majority of birds of paradise reside in tropical woods such as rainforests, swamps, and moss forests, with nearly all of them living alone in trees. A number of species have been discovered in coastal mangroves. The southernmost species, Australia’s Paradise Riflebird, dwells in subtropical and temperate wet woodlands.

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Breeding

Most species have intricate mating rituals, with the exception of the Paradisaea species, which uses a lek-type mating system. Others, such as the Cicinnurus and Parotia species, have elaborate mating rituals. Males in sexually dimorphic species are polygamous, but monogamous in at least some monomorphic species.

Birds of Paradise make their nests out of soft materials like leaves, ferns, and vine tendrils, which they usually placed in a tree fork. The size of the clutch is fairly ambiguous. In large species, there is nearly always only one egg. Smaller species may have 2–3 clutches.

Diet

Fruit and arthropods dominate the diet of birds of paradise. The proportion of each food item varies by species, with fruit dominating in some and arthropods dominating in others. The ratio between the two will influence other aspects of the species’ behavior.

Frugivorous species tend to feed in the forest canopy, whereas insectivores may feed lower down. Frugivores are more social than the insectivores, which are more solitary and territorial. 

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