Birds of Paradise
Astrapia (Greek, flashing or lightning); stephaniae (named for Princess Stephanie of Belgium, wife of Crown Prince Rudolph of Austria-Hungary).
Sexually dimorphic. Adult male, 84 cm (with central tail feathers); adult female, 53 cm. Adult male with head black with intense iridescent green-blue sheen, crown bluish purple, upperparts velvety black with strong green iridescence, throat through upper breast metallic blue-green, bordered below by velvet black; remainder of underparts iridescent coppery red; huge graduated black tail with broad, square-ended feathers. Adult females are dull blackish brown with fine blackish barring on the abdomen.
Fruit, especially from Umbrella Tree, and insects, spiders and frogs.
Mid and upper montane and subalpine forests, forest edges and secondary growth; 1280-3500m, mainly 1500-2800m.
Polygynous. Courtship peaks during dry season, although males display all year. Males advertise in leks of two to five or more birds. Courtship involves male chasing female. One male displaying stimulates others to do so. Males of lek hop between perches, increasing in frequency as intensity rises.
Breeding period at least May-December. Females build and attend to the nests alone. Incubation 22 days; nestling periods in two captive breedings 26-27 days. Known to hybridise with Ribbon-tailed Astrapia where altitudinal ranges meet.
Status and conservation
Not threatened; extensive range and altitudinal range although; some local decrease possibly due to plume hunting.
Papua New Guinea: Owen Stanley Range and north-westward through Eastern and Western Highlands into Enga and Southern Highlands.
Michael Hugill , Online Producer