Magnificent Bird of Paradise Click to enlarge image
Magnificent Bird of Paradise. Drawn by William T Cooper Image: William T. Cooper
© William T. Cooper

Fast Facts

Common name

Magnificent Bird of Paradise

Scientific name

Diphyllodes magnificus


Diphyllodes (Greek, resembling double leaf, alluding to two long tail feathers); magnificus (Latin, magnificent, splendid).


Sexually dimorphic. Adults, 19 cm (26 with extended tail feathers). Adult male has orangish brown crown and face, striking yellow cape on mantle, orange upper wings, large iridescent green breast shield, blue legs and feet and long sickle-shaped central tail feathers. Adult female drab olive-brown to reddish brown above, with dark brown bars on underparts.


Fruit and animals, particularly insects and spiders.


Hill and lower montane forests, rarely lowland forests; 0-1780m, mainly up to 1400m.


Polygynous. Display recorded July-February. Solitary male displays terrestrial court, which he clears and defends from rivals. Display involves static and leaning postures, up and down movements, and complex routine of movements of nape cape, pectoral shield, central tail feathers and mouth.


Breeding occurs at least July-December; probably every month across range. Nests built and attended to only by females. Incubation period 18-19 days; nestling period 17-18 days. Known to hybridise with King and Lesser Birds of Paradise.

Status and conservation

Not threatened; widespread and common.


Mainland New Guinea: mainland and Yapen and Salawati Islands.