Brown Sicklebill Click to enlarge image
Brown Sicklebill Image: William T. Cooper
© William T. Cooper

Fast Facts

Common name

Brown Sicklebill

Scientific name

Epimachus meyeri


Epimachus (Greek, equipped to fight; i.e. allusion to sword-like bill); meyeri (named for AB Meyer, ornithologist Dresden Museum).


Sexually dimorphic. Adult males, 96 cm with central tail feathers; females 52 cm; large sickle-shaped bill. Male with head feathers with blue-green iridescence, mantle to upper tail purple, breast dark brown, elongated purple-tipped plumes along side of chest and tail feathers metallic blue-green. Female brown and lacks in iridescence.


Fruits and animals, mainly arthropods and insects.


Mid montane and upper montane forests, including moss and disturbed forests, secondary growth and forest edges; 1500-3200m, mainly 1900-2900m.


Polygynous. Solitary males display and sing at one or more traditional perches. Displays recorded February, May-August and September-December. Males incorporate static posture, pumping, leaning, upright postures where body is erect, tail slightly opened and flank plumes encircle body. Male also rotates body with a series of short jerks.


Breeding at least April-January. Females build and attend to nests alone. Incubation, nestling and development unknown. Known to hybridise with Ribbon-tailed Astrapia in captivity.

Status and conservation

Not threatened; occurs at altitude above most clearing for agriculture.


New Guinea: central ranges from Weyland Mountains to extreme south-eastern Owen Stanley Mountains.