Drepanornis albertisi Click to enlarge image
Buff-tailed Sicklebill, male and female Image: James King, artist WT Cooper
© William T Cooper

Fast Facts

Common name

Buff-tailed Sicklebill

Scientific name

Drepanornsis albertisi


Drepanornis (Greek, sickle bird); albertisi (named after Italian naturalist and explorer, LM D’Albertis)


Sexually dimorphic. Adult male, 35 cm long; adult female, 33 cm. Male has cinnamon brown head with iridescent purple feathers on crown, elongated forecrown feathers forming ‘horns’ above eyes, upperparts and tail cinnamon-brown, underparts sooty grey with band of purple iridescent-tipped feathers separating upper and lower breast. Adult female similar above but lacks iridescence; throat and underparts pale brown to off-white with narrow dark barring.


Primarily insect, also fruits.


Mid montane forests, also logged areas and forest edges; 600-2250m, mainly 1100-1900m.


Polygynous. Display season varies geographically: at least May-November across range. Solitary male displays from traditional perch maintained throughout year as all purpose area. Male leans backwards, expanding flank plumes into fan and spreading pectoral plumes around back of head; he then sits up and calls, before rotating backwards until hanging below perch.


Breeding at least September-December. Female builds and attends to the nest alone. Incubation, nestling and development periods unknown. Not known to hybridise with other species.

Status and conservation

Not threatened, but not abundant anywhere in range; no immediate risk, but should be monitored.


New Guinea: mountain ranges, including central cordillera, those of Huon and Bird’s Head Peninsulas, and Foja, Fakfak and Kumawa Mountains.