Photo: C & D Frith
Wet Tropics Rainforest Life
Ptiloris victoriae 24 cm
Victoria’s Riflebird is one of 12 bird species
endemic to the Wet Tropics region.
It is one of four birds-of-paradise indigenous to
Males display from conspicuous vantage points,
where they mate with any
receptive females attracted there.
The diet comprises mainly fruit, insects and
spiders. Like a treecreeper or
Victorias Riflebird is known as duwuduwu to the local Bama
woodpecker, it often searches bark or decaying wood with its long arched bill.
This bird of paradise is endemic to the Atherton Region where it can be seen
throughout the year. It is named after the British Queen Victoria.
It is a medium sized bird, 23-25cm. The male is a velvet jet black with a green
head, throat and tail that sparkle in the suns rays. The female is a red-brown.
In its breeding season from September to February, males attract females by
their fascinating display of throwing up their rounded wings either side of their
head and neck, swaying from side to side and bobbing up and down.
While they do this, they
flick their head from the edge of one wing to the edge of
the other. They also make a loud
single and explosive yah call. When they open
their bill, their brilliant
yellow mouth interior can be seen.
riflebirds slap their wings together as they arch them above their head in
dramatic courting displays. (Source:
Environmental Protection Agency)
The male also has the ability to hang upside down with his tail fanned and wings
spread. If the female is attracted, she moves toward him in a hopping motion. As
closer (when he is upright) he encircles her in his wings, which he uses
to tap her
Once the male and female have mated, they no longer remain together. The
raises their young (usually two) alone. Her nest is often decorated with
snake skins (eg.
They feed in a predominantly woodpecker fashion as they tear tree bark and
rotting wood in the search of insects and insect larvae with their long curved bill,
strong legs and claws. They also eat fruit, and occasionally are shot illegally as
regularly damage cultivated fruit.
Male riflebirds appear to keep to a territory, but females tend to wander. They
have a swift and direct flight.
· Riflebirds are numerous round
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