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Black-billed Sicklebill - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Buff-tailed Sicklebill (beware of confusion with Eutoxeres condamini)

Drepanornis albertisi

Epimachus albertisi


Male 35cm, female 33cm. A fairly large Bird-of-paradise with a very long, sickle-shaped bill and a medium-length tail


  • Maroon-grey bare skin around eye
  • Dark brown iris
  • Buff tail
  • Yellow mouth
  • Black sickle-shaped bill
  • Dark horn-like forecrown feathers
  • Erectile fan-like bronze neck plumes
  • Elongated purple-tipped flank plumes


  • Smaller than male
  • Brown plumage, dark barred below
  • Bill longer than male

Juveniles are undescribed, immatures similar to females.


Endemic to the mountains of New Guinea. Presumably a resident species.
Nowhere abundant but partly common. Has a small and patchily distribution.



Two subspecies usually recognized[1]:

  • D. a. albertisi:
  • New Guinea (mountains of Vogelkop and Huon Peninsula)
  • D. a. cervinicauda:

Birds from the Huon Peninsula are sometimes described as subspecies geisleri. The proposed race inversus is usually synonymized with cervicauda.
May from a superspecies with Pale-billed Sicklebill and both are sometimes placed in the genus Epimachus.


Middle montane forest and forest edges. Occurs at 600 - 2250m, mainly at 1100 - 1900m.



Feeds mainly on insects but takes also fruits.


Breeding season at least from September to December. A polygynous species. The male advertises from one or more traditional high perches and performs its display. The territory around the perch is occupied by the male all year. The female builds and attends the nest alone.
The only known nest was a thin, rather flat structure. Lays 1 or 2 eggs.


  1. Clements, JF. 2010. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2010. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/Clements%206.5.xls/view
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

Recommended Citation

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