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Ribbon-tailed Astrapia

From Opus

MalePhoto by Mark HarperAmbua Lodge, Tari, Papua New Guinea, August 2008
Photo by Mark Harper
Ambua Lodge, Tari, Papua New Guinea, August 2008

Alternative names: Ribbon-tailed Bird-of-paradise; Ribbon Tail

Astrapia mayeri


[edit] Identification

Male 32cm (12½ in); 125cm including rectrices, female 35cm (13¾ in); 53cm including rectrices.

[edit] Male

Male who has lost his tail ribbonsPhoto © by dandsblairKumul, Papua New Guinea, 12 May
Male who has lost his tail ribbons
Photo © by dandsblair
Kumul, Papua New Guinea, 12 May
  • Short, narrow and graduated tail with an extraordinarly elongated white central pair of rectrices
  • Velvety jet-black head with iridescent metallic yellowish-green and/or blue and violet-purple and/or magenta sheen
  • Jet-black narial tuft above base of upper-mandible
  • Jet-black mantle to uppertail-coverts with iridescent sheen of bronzed olive-green
  • Brownish-black wings
  • Intense metallic yellowish-green throat extending to upper breast, sometimes scale-like appearance
  • Lower breast velvety jet-black with iridescent copper-bronze sheen, bordered below by narrow gorget of iridescent coppery red
  • Matt brownish-black vent and undertail-coverts
  • Dark brown eye
  • Blackish bill

[edit] Female

  • Jet-black head and nape with iridescent metallic bronzed yellowish-green
  • Velvety blackish mantle and back
  • Drab blackish-brown rest of plumage
  • Rufous to buff-brown abdomen with fine blackish barring
  • Much shorter tail, no white ribbons

This species requires at least six years to acquire the full adult plumage.

[edit] Distribution

Endemic to a small area in Papua New Guinea from Doma Peaks, upper Strickland River, Muller Range and Karius Range east to Porgera/Mount Liwaro highlands, Mount Hagen and Mount Giluwe.
Fairly common to locally abundant restricted-range species.

Immature malePhoto by djringerKumul Lodge, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea, November 2006
Immature male
Photo by djringer
Kumul Lodge, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea, November 2006

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species[1].

Hybridization with Princess Stephanie's Astrapia recorded.

[edit] Habitat

Highland forests, also in disturbed forest. Occurs at 1800 - 3450m, mostly above 2450m.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Feeds mostly on fruits but takes also arthropods, spiders and frogs. These birds use their bill to dig insects out of the ground and trees.

[edit] Breeding

Breeding recorded all year except in April. A polygynous species. Males concentrate on leks where they sing and display from traditional perches. The female builds and attends the nest alone. The nest is deep and cup-shaped. It's placed 3 - 18m above the ground in an almost vertical tree fork. Lays one egg.

[edit] Vocalisation

Several voices have been described. They include a guttural sound followed by two sharp whistles, frog-like sounds, or harsh hissing sounds.

[edit] Movement

Presumably a resident species.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. Frith, C. & Frith, D. (2019). Ribbon-tailed Astrapia (Astrapia mayeri). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 November 2019).
  4. Gregory, P. (2017) Birds of New Guinea, Including Bismarck Archipelago and Boughainville. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

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