Surprised? Let’s blow the dust of this sucker, shall we? It’s been awhile….quite awhile, in fact. Got a bit of free time on my hands, so let’s check out another lovely member from Kingdom Animalia. Our good friend Maso proposed…………
Victoria’s Riflebird (AKA: Duwuduwu-Aboriginal name) Ptiloris victoriae
Hailing from the family Paradisaeidae it is classified as a bird of paradise. As you may know, birds of paradise look really cool and/or do some really interesting things. This species is not threatened and is actually quite common.
He can dance if he wants to.
As with a lot of birds they’re sexually dimorphic. They are the smallest of the 4 riflebird species. Both sexes are the same length coming in at around 9.5 in (24 cm). The females weigh a bit less at 0.17–0.21 lb (77–96 g) and the males are a tad more bulky at 0.20–0.26 lb (91–119 g).
They possess a long, curved bill that comes in pretty handy for feeding.
The male is the more extravagant gender. His plumage has an iridescent purple sheen over a majority of the body. At the head there’s more of a blue-green tone and bronze on the lower breast. The throat is velvety black with a green and blue triangular patch in the center. All in all he’s a good lookin’ bird.
Behold his feathery sexiness!
And additional sexiness. (This shows the color a bit better.)
The female is more bland. Her head, back, wings, and tail are brown except for a white eyebrow stripe and throat patch. Her underbelly is buff colored and has a spackling of brown bars.
Not as colorful, but a fine lady nonetheless.
Not much else to say aside from that they’re your basic bird shape.
It hails from Australia. Specifically the Atherton region of northeast Queensland, including some off-shore islands. If you’re a native Aussie then it’s from Big Tableland, south of Cooktown, to Mount Elliot just south of Townsville. I, of course, have no idea where the hell those towns are.
Here’s a map of Australia in case you forgot what it looked like. Oh hey, Townsville’s on there. Now we have a point of reference!
If you’re wondering where the riflebird hangs out in Queensland, then it’d be the rainforests and dense woodlands around them.
Chillin’ in the rainforest. (I’m pretty sure that’s some rainforest in the background. )
Omnivorous. Usually arthropods and fruits in equal measure. Nestlings eat more bugs than fruit. Prey items include orthopterans(grasshoppers, crickets, etc.), cockroaches, beetles, cicadas, insect larvae, wood lice, spiders, centipedes and occasionally small vertebrates like frogs. (Delicious, eh?)
Diurnal. They are non migratory and solitary. Males aren't territorial, and females tend to wander. They can peel fruit by holding it with one foot and removing the skin with their bill and to get at insects they use their bill to probe under bark and other buggy hiding places.
For the most part they’re just regular birds….
However, when it’s time to get freaky the male does some impressive things.
Raise the roof!
Riflebird breeding season is from late August to early January. The adult males are loud and frequently vocal when advertising for the ladies. Their calls consist of sssssshh or yaaaas sounds. They often pick display sites such as the top of vertical broken-off tree stumps or fence posts, whatever serves as a stage. On their platform they perform a ritualized courtship dance when a female responds to their calls. Once she is present he curves his wings up and tilts his head back in display. He then sways his body in a circular motion, reflecting the colors of his throat in the sunlight. The wings are clapped loudly together during the display. If she is impressed enough, copulation ensues and then the male sets his sights on finding another lady to impress. (Click for a video of the dance.)
The female exclusively attends the nest and raises the offspring. The nest is a bulky, rough bowl of twigs and leaves hidden in foliage at 5–66 ft (1.5–20 m) above the ground. Clutch size is one to two pinkish eggs marked with long, brown blotches. The Incubation period is 18–19 days and nestlings hang around for 13-15 days. Young riflebirds take 4-7 years to reach sexual maturity.
A pink, brown-striped cradle of life.
-The Victoria's Riflebird was discovered by John Macgillivray for John Gould in 1848 and is named after Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.
-They were once commonly killed and mounted for Victorian bird cabinets as interior decoration.
-Riflebirds have the unusual habit of draping cast-off snake skins on the rims of nests. It is not known if the snake skins are for purely decorative purposes or whether they are also useful for scaring off potential nest robbers.
‘Fraid that’s about it. Doesn’t seem to be much more information on these guys. Guess this’ll be one of the shorter features. I was hoping after the long hiatus I’d have a fairly fleshed out article. Oh well, I can only work with what I can find. Hope it was informative even if it was short. Thanks for reading!
Oh yeah, and if you want to read my other features check out this article for a complete index.