Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise Click to enlarge image
Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise Image: William T. Cooper
© William T. Cooper

Fast Facts

Common name

Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise

Scientific name

Seleucidis melanoleuca


Seleucidis (Latin, migrant birds sent by gods to destroy locusts (i.e. birds of paradise); melanoleuca (Greek, black and white); common name refers to wire-like feathers on flanks.


Sexually dimorphic. Adult male, 33 cm; female, 35 cm. Male has velvety black head and upperparts, green-tipped lower breast feathers; underparts and flank plumes yellow (colour soon lost after death); extending from flank plumes on each side are 6 black ‘wires’, which curl back upward. Adult female drab with uniform blackish bars on the underparts. Both sexes have large bright pink legs, feet and eyes.


Fruits, arthropods, frogs and insects; also nectar.


Flat lowlands and swamp forests; 0-180m.


Polygynous. Displays from at least July to January. Solitary males display at traditional perches, usually on tree stump. Male approaches female, pecks at her, pulsates breast shield and exposes pink thighs; he then perches above female, sways from side to side, hopping from foot to foot and swiping her with its wires.


Breeding season encompasses most months across range. Females build and attend to nests alone. Incubation 20 days. Known to hybridise with Magnificent and Lesser Birds of Paradise.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened; has extensive range and habitat, much inaccessible.


New Guinea: throughout lowlands except north-east and far east; Salawati Island.