Stephanie’s astrapia

The velvety black bird of paradise

gailhampshire

A stunning and distinctive member of the bird of paradise family, known for its striking plumage and unique courtship displays. Found in the subalpine and mid to upper montane forests of eastern and central Papua New Guinea, this species is named after Stephanie, the wife of Sir William Ingram, a British naturalist who first described it.

The male Stephanie’s Astrapia boasts an impressive appearance, with velvety jet-black plumage accented by a chest band bordered with a thin golden stripe. Its most striking feature is undoubtedly its two extraordinarily elongated, graduated purplish-black central tail feathers, which trail behind like elegant streamers. Additionally, the male exhibits an iridescent teal-green and purple head and bib, adding to its regal allure. In contrast, the female Stephanie’s Astrapia sports more subdued blackish-brown colors, with black-barred rufous underparts and a long tail.

Despite its dazzling appearance, Stephanie’s Astrapia is primarily a fruit-eater, feeding on a variety of fruits found within its forest habitat. These fruits provide essential nutrients for the bird, helping to sustain its energy and health.

During the breeding season, male Stephanie’s Astrapia engage in elaborate lek courtship displays to attract potential mates. Lekking involves a group of males gathering at specific display sites, where they perform intricate dance-like movements and vocalizations to showcase their fitness and attract females. These displays are not only visually spectacular but also serve as a means of competition among males for mating opportunities.

Once a female selects a mate, she takes on the responsibility of nest building and parental duties alone. This includes constructing a nest from various materials found in the forest and caring for the eggs and young chicks until they are ready to fledge.

Distribution

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

Did you know?

  • Lack of correct population data is the major gap in population estimation.
  • Pressure from plume hunting and illegal trading may result in the extinction of this beautiful species if no conservation measures are applied in due time (now it is part of CITES II).

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No