Blue bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi)

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Male blue bird-of-paradise practising courtship dance
IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable VULNERABLE

Top facts

  • The blue bird-of-paradise is endemic to Papua New Guinea.
  • Habitat loss is the most significant threat to the blue bird-of-paradise.
  • The blue bird-of-paradise is hunted for its beautiful feathers.
  • Like other birds-of paradise, the blue bird-of-paradise performs an elaborate courtship display.
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Blue bird-of-paradise fact file

Blue bird-of-paradise description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasseriformes
FamilyParadisaeidae
GenusParadisaea (1)

Birds-of-paradise are one of the most spectacular and colourful groups of birds in the world, and the blue bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi) with its stunning plumage is no exception. The blue bird-of-paradise has blue feathers on its wings, back and tail; the bill is ivory in colour and there is a white ring around the eyes (2). Male blue birds-of-paradise also have fine blue tail plumes with two delicate, long streamers, while, in contrast to the dark males, females have chestnut underparts (2). During their mating display, males will give a rhythmic 'wahr...wahr...' call (2).

Also known as
blue bird of paradise.
Size
Length: 30 cm (2)
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Blue bird-of-paradise biology

Birds-of-paradise use their spectacular plumage in displays to attract mates (4). Males compete in what is known as a lekking system, where they each have their own small display ground (known as a 'lek') from which to impress passing females. In part of their display, males reveal the full extent of their magnificent plumage by hanging upside down in trees and spreading their wings, whilst giving a humming call (2).

The blue bird-of-paradise is mainly found in the canopy of the forest, where the majority of its diet is composed of fruit (2).

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Blue bird-of-paradise range

Endemic to Papua New Guinea, the blue bird-of-paradise is found to the east of the Central Ranges (2).

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Blue bird-of-paradise habitat

The blue bird-of-paradise inhabits tropical and subtropical moist forest (1), usually between 1,400 and 1,800 metres above sea level (2).

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Blue bird-of-paradise status

The blue bird-of-paradise is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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Blue bird-of-paradise threats

Habitat loss is the most important threat to the survival of the blue bird-of-paradise. Much of the native forests of Papua New Guinea are being cleared to make way for agriculture and development (2) and it is likely that the already small population of the blue bird-of-paradise will become increasingly fragmented (1). The colourful feathers of these birds have traditionally been in demand and the species continues to be targeted by hunters (2).

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Blue bird-of-paradise conservation

The blue bird-of-paradise is protected by law in Papua New Guinea (1) and international trade is restricted by its listing on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3). More research into the distribution of these beautiful birds is required in order to accurately gauge the risk currently facing their population (1).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For more on the blue bird-of-paradise see:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Lek mating system
System of mating in which males display collectively in an area known as a lek. Males compete for the best sites within the lek and females then choose whom to mate with on the basis of the display.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (April, 2003)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. BirdLife International (2000) Threatened Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona and Cambridge.
  3. CITES (April, 2003)
    http://www.cites.org/
  4. Burnie, D. (2001) Animal. Dorling Kindersley, London.
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Image credit

Male blue bird-of-paradise practising courtship dance  
Male blue bird-of-paradise practising courtship dance

© Tim Laman / naturepl.com

Nature Picture Library
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BS1 5RR
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Tel: +44 (0) 117 911 4675
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