Greater Bird of Paradise Click to enlarge image
Greater Bird of Paradise drawn by William T. Cooper. Image: William T. Cooper
© William T. Cooper

Fast Facts

Common name

Greater Bird of Paradise

Scientific name

Paradisaea apoda


Paradisaea (Latin, paradise); apoda (Latin, footless or legless; so named because first trade skins taken to Europe were prepared with legs removed); common name contrasts its larger size with the similar but smaller Lesser Bird of Paradise.


Sexually dimorphic. Males average 43 cm in length (excluding central tail wires), while adult females reach 35 cm. Adult male has yellow head, brown back (not yellow as in Lesser Bird of Paradise), underparts and wings brown, iridescent green throat, central wire-like tail feathers and yellowish filamentous flank feathers. The female is shades of brown all over.


Fruits and arthropods.


Lowland and hill forest; 0-950m.


Polygynous; lekking males use traditional tree display perches, with up to 15 adult males on a single lek, plus any female-plumaged younger males. Male briefly holds wings in front of body and throws flank plumes over back, then hops up and back along perch raising or lowering bill on each trip; he again raises plumes over back before moving to low point of perch and hanging facing downwards with plumes out; male lowers body along perch, extends wings, erects plumes and hops along branch calling, followed by bending forward over perch, extending wings and plumes.


Breeding occurs at least March-May and August-December. Females build and attend nests alone; [more] can lay up to seven eggs in a clutch. Known to hybridise with Raggiana Bird of Paradise.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened; common and widespread.


New Guinea: Aru Islands and southern lowlands from Timika east to Fly and Strickland Rivers drainages.