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King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise

Pteridophora alberti

The King of Saxony bird-of-paradise, known scientifically as Pteridophora alberti, is a striking member of the Paradisaeidae family. This species is the sole representative of its genus, Pteridophora. The male is a vision in black and yellow, adorned with a pair of extraordinary, enamel-blue brow-plumes that can reach up to 50 cm in length and are capable of independent erection. The female, in contrast, is a more subdued greyish brown with barred underparts.

Identification Tips

To identify the male King of Saxony bird-of-paradise, look for its distinctive long, scalloped blue brow-plumes, black bill with a bright aqua-green gape, and dark brown iris. The female is less conspicuous, with her overall greyish brown plumage and barred pattern on the underparts.

Habitat

This bird-of-paradise favors the montane forests of New Guinea, thriving in the cool, misty environments found at elevations between 1,300 and 2,850 meters above sea level.

Distribution

The King of Saxony bird-of-paradise is endemic to New Guinea, with its range extending from the Weyland Mountains in Western New Guinea to the Kratke Range and Mount Giluwe in Papua New Guinea.

Behaviour

Males are known for their territorial nature, often perching atop tall trees to sing and display their plumes in competition with neighboring males. The diet of this species is primarily composed of fruits, berries, and arthropods.

Song & calls

The male's song, used to attract females, is a unique series of "radio-static hisses" that can last from four to five seconds and are typically repeated at one-minute intervals.

Courtship

During courtship, the male King of Saxony bird-of-paradise performs a captivating dance, utilizing his long occipital plumes to entice the female. These displays, which include bouncing mantle cape and breast shield feathers, are a visual feast designed to impress potential mates.

Similar Species

There are no similar species within its range that possess the male's extraordinary head plumes, making the King of Saxony bird-of-paradise quite unique in its appearance.

Diet and Feeding

The King of Saxony bird-of-paradise feeds mainly on fruits, berries, and arthropods, foraging through the montane forest canopy and understory.

Conservation status

Despite being hunted for its ornamental plumes, the King of Saxony bird-of-paradise is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List, indicating that it currently faces no immediate threat of extinction. It is also listed on Appendix II of CITES, reflecting the need for monitoring international trade of this species.

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King of Saxony Bird-of-paradises on Birda

Sightings
A map showing the sighting location
Profile picture for Owen Robertson
Owen Robertson
22 Nov 2019 - 12:00am
Papua New Guinea

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