Wahnes Parotia Click to enlarge image
Wahnes Parotia drawn by William T. Cooper Image: William T. Cooper
© William T. Cooper

Fast Facts

Common name

Wahnes’ Parotia

Scientific name

Parotia wahnesi


Parotia (Greek, curl of hair by the ear, alluding to plumes on head); wahnesi (named for German collector C Wahnes).


Sexually dimorphic. Adult male, 43 cm long; females 36 cm. Adult males entirely velvety black except for large erectile tuft of coppery bronze and white feathers above nostrils and bill white and coppery brown, iridescent greenish-yellow breast shield, three plumes like wires with expanded ends above and behind each eye and long tail. Adult female with black head, off-white stripe behind eye, mottled throat and facial stripe, drab brown upperparts and tail, and barred underparts.


Fruits and small animals.


Mid montane forests; 1100-1700m.


Polygynous. Males maintain territories in possible exploded lek on slopes of hills or ridge tops; while solitary, they maintain auditory contact with each other. Display involves bending tail forward then bowing forward with tail extended backwards and fanned several times; this is followed by standing upright and raising flank feathers into ‘skirt’, maintained as he dances around court, moving head plumes.


Female bird builds and attends nest alone. Breeding period largely unknown, usually at least November-February. Information on incubation, nestling and development unknown. Not known to hybridise.

Status and conservation

Vulnerable; restricted range and apparently declining owing to increasing human population.


Papua New Guinea: Adelbert Range and Huon Peninsula (Cromwell, Rawlinson, Saruwaged and Finisterre Mountains).