The King bird-of-paradise is not just tiny, but also highly vibrant in appearance, leading to its nickname as a living jewel.
The Cicinnurus regius, commonly known as the king bird-of-paradise, belongs to the passerine bird family of Paradisaeidae, also known as bird-of-paradise. The males of this species possess striking features that make them distinct. They are characterized by their vivid red hue, two long and thin tail feathers that look like wires, and a circular display of bright green feathers at the end of the tail. The belly of the male bird is white in color, and there is a green stripe across its chest.
In addition to his distinctive song, the male bird boasts a pair of black marks above his eyes. On the other hand, the female is much less vibrant in color, sporting an olive-brown hue on her back, head, and throat, while her chest is a mix of buff shades.
The King bird-of-paradise is a prevalent species in Papua New Guinea and its surrounding islands. They are unique to this region and can be found in various habitats such as lowland rainforests, gallery forests, forest edges, and tall secondary forests.
As a frugivorous creature, the King bird-of-paradise mainly feeds on fruits and arthropods for sustenance.
King birds-of-paradise practice polygyny, which means that once they mate with a female, they will continue to attract others. To display their prowess, the male bird will perch upright on a branch and vibrate his wings. He will then hold his body parallel to the branch, spreading his pectoral feathers, and raise his tail over his head as he dances. After swinging his tail and body side to side, he will hang upside down on the branch with his wings folded, swaying like a pendulum. The female will construct an open cup-shaped nest in a tree cavity and lay up to two eggs, which she will incubate for 17 days until hatching. The female will then care for the chicks alone until they are independent.
The IUCN has reported that the King bird-of-paradise can be found commonly and extensively throughout its habitat. However, there isn’t an existing estimate for its overall population. At present, this species has been categorized as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its population figures have stayed relatively steady.
Observe and listen to this feathered creature that is situated just beneath these words: