Carola’s Parotia or Queen Carola’s Six-wired Bird of Paradise

The Carola’s Parotia, Parotia carolae, is also known as Queen Carola’s Six-wired Bird of Paradise. The name commemorates Queen Carola of Vasa, the wife of King Albert I of Saxony.

Carola’s Parotia often includes the enigmatic Berlepsch’s Parotia as a subspecies, but information gained when it was rediscovery in 2005 hardened the case for considering it a separate species.

Description

It is a medium-sized, up to 26cm long, bird of paradise. The males, like all members in its genus, are mostly black and have three ornamental spatule head wires attaching behind each eye and elongated display feathers on the sides that form a tutu-like “skirt” during courtship.

Unlike most other parotias, it also has white flank plumes, a gold-and-white crest, golden whiskers and eyebrow, and iridescent throat as well as breast feathers. The female is an overall brown bird barred greyish below.

Distribution / Range

One of the most colorful parotias, the Carola’s Parotia inhabits to mid-mountain forests of central New Guinea.

Widespread and common throughout its fairly remote range, the Carola’s Parotia is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.

Diet / Feeding

The diet consists mainly of fruits and arthropods.

Breeding / Nesting

The stunning courtship dance of this species was described in detail by Scholes (2006). It is similar to that of Lawes’s Parotia, but modified to present the iridescent throat plumage and the flank tufts to best effort.