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Greater Lophorina

Lophorina superba

The greater lophorina, or superb bird-of-paradise, is a small passerine bird measuring approximately 26 cm in length. Males are resplendent with an iridescent green crown and a blue-green breast shield, complemented by a velvety black cape that drapes elegantly over their back. Females and juveniles present a more subdued appearance, with the former sporting a reddish-brown plumage and the latter resembling the female.

Identification Tips

To identify the male greater lophorina, look for the striking contrast between the dark plumage and the vivid green and blue-green highlights. The female is less conspicuous, with her brown and buff-barred underparts. The species exhibits sexual dimorphism, with males and females differing markedly in appearance.

Habitat

This bird-of-paradise favors the rainforests and forest edges within the lush landscapes of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It is also known to inhabit the mountainous regions of New Guinea's forests.

Distribution

The greater lophorina is a denizen of New Guinea's rainforests, where it can often be found perched high in the forest canopy.

Behaviour

Males are territorial and defend areas as small as 1.2 hectares. They are polygynous, mating with multiple females. Females, on the other hand, are discerning, often rejecting numerous suitors before selecting a mate.

Song & Calls

The male's courtship involves a loud call to attract the female, which is part of his elaborate display to win her favor.

Breeding

Nests are constructed high in the trees from soft materials found in the forest. Clutches typically consist of 1-3 eggs, which hatch after 16-22 days. Chicks gain independence quickly, leaving the nest within 16-30 days.

Similar Species

While the greater lophorina is unique in its display, it may be confused with other bird-of-paradise species. However, its courtship behavior and the male's distinctive cape and breast shield set it apart.

Diet and Feeding

The greater lophorina's diet includes fruits, insects, and occasionally larger prey such as frogs, reptiles, and smaller birds. They forage in the trees and sometimes on the forest floor.

Conservation status

Despite being hunted for its plumes, the greater lophorina is classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, thanks to its commonality and widespread presence in New Guinea's forests. It is also listed on Appendix II of CITES.

Subspecies

The greater lophorina has several subspecies, including Lophorina superba connectens, Lophorina superba feminina, Lophorina superba latipennis, and Lophorina superba superba. The taxonomic status of these subspecies, as well as the crescent-caped lophorina (L. s. niedda) and the lesser lophorina (L. s. minor), has been subject to recent debate and reclassification.

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