Raggiana bird-of-paradise

Hailed as the national bird of Papua New Guinea

David J. Stang

One of the most stunning and well-known members of the bird-of-paradise family. Native to Papua New Guinea, this bird primarily inhabits the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, thriving in lowland and mid-montane forests. These birds are commonly found in areas ranging from sea level up to 1,500 meters. They prefer dense forest environments where they can find ample food sources and suitable locations for nesting and displaying.

Male Raggiana birds-of-paradise are renowned for their spectacular plumage. They feature a rich mix of colors, including a bright yellow crown, green face, and crimson red feathers that cascade in long, flowing plumes. These red plumes, also known as “streamers,” are particularly prominent during courtship displays. In contrast, female Raggiana birds are less flamboyant, sporting more subdued brown and white feathers. This sexual dimorphism, where males and females look markedly different, is a common trait among bird-of-paradise species.

The Raggiana bird-of-paradise is perhaps best known for its elaborate courtship rituals. During the breeding season, males gather in communal display grounds known as leks. Here, they perform intricate dances to attract females. These displays involve a combination of vocalizations, movements, and showcasing their vibrant plumage. Males spread their wings, fan their tail feathers, and engage in rhythmic dances to woo potential mates.

The Raggiana bird-of-paradise holds great cultural significance in Papua New Guinea. It is the national bird of the country and is prominently featured on the national flag. The bird’s stunning appearance and unique behaviors have made it a symbol of beauty and natural wonder. In traditional ceremonies and festivals, its feathers are often used as decorative elements, symbolizing prestige and cultural heritage.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Indonesia
2018
Breeding
Papua New Guinea
2018
Breeding

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Frugivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No