One of the few monogamous birds-of-paradise, this paradise-crow is endemic to lowland forests of Northern Maluku in Indonesia. The diet consists mainly of fruits and arthropods. It is a restricted-range forest dweller from Halmahera and Morotai, in the northern Maluku of Indonesia.
The paradise-crow is a medium-sized bird-of-paradise, reaching a body length of up to 42 cm, with a dark, soft and silky plumage that may appear all black, but is in fact a very dark brown. Both sexes are similar; the female is slightly smaller than the male. The nominate subspecies has the least or no white patch on the inner flight feathers.
The head is slightly glossy black-brown and the upper parts are lighter than the head. The upper plumage shines slightly, with a blue-gray shimmer that is most pronounced on the coat, with cinnamon-brown wings. It has a black bill, crimson eyes, and a call reminiscent of a dog's bark.
It was originally thought to be a crow (Corvidae), and was then reassigned to the birds of paradise, where it is the earliest known offshoot from the paradisaeid family tree, dating back approximately 17 million years in the Miocene period. Lycocorax is derived from the Greek lycos, a wolf, and korax, a raven. Pyrrhopterus means red-winged, from the Greek pyrrhos, a flame or the colour red, and pteros, wing.
Distribution and subspecies
Previously, the Obi paradise-crow (Lycocorax obiensis) was treated as a subspecies of the Halmahera paradise-crow. However, due to its distinctiveness and potential for separation, it was split from L. pyrrhopterus in 2016.
Ecology and behaviour
The nominate form is a forest dweller, also found in gardens and forest edges. It prefers the taller trees of the forest interior and is not typically seen in the more open agricultural areas. Seldom found in swamp forest or mangroves, it sometimes occurs in Coconut plantations and orchards, and frequents the mid-level to lhe canopy of the vegetation. The diet of the paradise-crow is composed mainly by fruit, with some supplement from arthropods, both of which are foraged mainly from dense canopy and middle foliage.
The breeding season is approximately December to June, with eggs laid over the same period. As the sexes are similar, it is likely that the species is monogamous, but breeding behaviour is almost unknown. Halmahera nests are described as a large basin-shaped structure made of roots and moss and lined with soft chips of wood, and the clutch appears to consist of just a single egg.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Lycocorax pyrrhopterus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.old-form url
- Gregory, Phil (2020). Birds of Paradise and Bowerbirds. 70: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781472975843.CS1 maint: location (link)
- Morten. (2012). Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia : Second Edition. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 1-306-31080-6. OCLC 868285052.
- Heinrich, Gerd (1956). "Biologische Aufzeichnungen über Vögel von Halmahera und Batjan". Journal für Ornithologie. 97: 31–40. doi:10.1007/BF01670833 – via Springer.
- Frith, Clifford B.; Poulsen, Michael K. (December 1999). "Distribution and Status of the Paradise Crow Lycocorax pyrrhopterus and Standardwing Bird of Paradise Semioptera wallacii , with Notes on Biology and Nidification". Emu - Austral Ornithology. 99 (4): 229–238. doi:10.1071/MU99028. ISSN 0158-4197.
- Sibley, C.G. and Monroe, B.L. 1990. Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
- del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
- COATES, B. J.; BISHOP, K. D.; GARDNER, V. Birds of Wallacea Sulawesi, The Moluccas and Lesser SundaIslands, Indonesia. Alderley: Dove Publications, 1997.
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