Taking its name from the elongated train of glossy red feathers in the tail, the male red bird-of-paradise is both beautiful and unusual in appearance. The feathering around the face and throat is an iridescent, dark emerald-green, and the slightly longer, curved feathers above the eyes are almost cushion-like in appearance. The mantle of the red bird-of-paradise is mostly pale orange-yellow, although it is slightly more amber on the sides, and more yellow with an iridescent white sheen on the back. The upper breast feathers and the upper parts of the wings are also pale orange-yellow in colour. The back and chest of the red bird-of-paradise are varying shades of glossy brown with reddish highlights, becoming lighter brown underneath. The wings are reddish-brown. The central pair of feathers in the tail is modified into greatly elongated, gently twisted, shiny black ‘tapes’ (2) (4). The female is less eye-catching than the male, lacking the long red plumes in the tail (4). The female red bird-of-paradise also has a dark brown face and throat, while the rest of the plumage is brownish, except for the upper breast which has a discrete bar of glossy, straw-yellow feathers (2).
- Male length (excluding tail wires): 33 cm (2)
- Female length: 30 cm (2)
- Male weight: 158 - 224 g (2)
- Female weight: 115 - 208 g (2)