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Superb Bird-of-Paradise

From Opus

Male displayingPhoto by XenospizaAluakambe, Tari Valley, Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, July 2006
Male displaying
Photo by Xenospiza
Aluakambe, Tari Valley, Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea, July 2006
Lophorina superba

Includes: Lesser Superb Bird-of-Paradise; Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise; Greater Superb Bird-of-Paradise


[edit] Identification

Male 26cm, female 25cm.

[edit] Male

  • Velvety jet-black head
  • Iridescent metallic green-blue crown
  • Velvety jet-black erectile nuchal cape with dark olive-green iridescence
  • Black back and rump
  • Velvety jet-black throat with dark olive-green sheen
  • Metallic greenish-blue breast shield
  • Slightly glossy black underparts
  • Dark brown eye
  • Black bill
  • Lemon-yellow to lime-green mouth
  • Blackish legs

[edit] Female

  • Blackish-brown head and nape with short line of tiny whitish spots as postocular line
  • Similar submoustachial stripe
  • Cryptically brown and rufous coloured upperparts
  • Whitish-grey chin and throat
  • Pale buff to olive-tinged brown (latipennis) underparts, narrowly barred blackish-brown

Juveniles and immature are similar to females.

[edit] Similar species

Females can be confused with females of Magnificent Riflebird (note bill length) and some female Parotias.

[edit] Distribution

Endemic to the mountains of New Guinea.
Locally common and often most common Bird-of-Paradise in its altitudinal range.

[edit] Taxonomy

Six subspecies currently recognized which are now split into three species by Clements:

  • Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise (Lophorina niedda)
  • L. s. inopinata:
  • L. s. niedda:
  • Greater Superb Bird-of-Paradise (Lophorina superba)
  • L. s. superba:
  • L. s. addenda:
  • L. s. latipennis:
  • Eastern New Guinea (mountains of the Huon Peninsula, and presumably also the Herzog and Adelbert Ranges)
  • Lesser Superb Bird-of-Paradise (Lophorina niedda)
  • L. s. minor:
  • Southeastern Papua New Guinea (mountains of the Papuan Peninsula, west at least to the Wharton Range)

The proposed subspecies connectens is usually treated as a synonym of latipennis. The proposed subspecies sphinx is of unknown origin, possibly from far southeast New Guinea.
Hybrids with Long-tailed Paradigalla, Western Parotia, Carola's Parotia, Magnificent Riflebird, Black Sicklebill and Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise recorded.

[edit] Habitat

Middle and upper montane forest. Also in disturbed forest and forest patches among gardens. Iccurs at 1000 - 2300m, mainly at 1650 - 1900m.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Feeds mostly on fruits and a variety of arthropods.
Forages at all forest levels, usually singly.

[edit] Breeding

Breeds in any month across range, display observed from August to January. A polygynous species. The male advertises from a traditional high perch and performs its display. The female builds and attends the nest alone.
The courtship involves a static display and an animated dance. The erection of the nuchal cape and the pectoral shield are important features.
The nest is a rough cup, placed 1.5m or higher above the ground in a palm. Lays 1 - 2 eggs.

[edit] Movements

Presumably a resident species.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. 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

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