Eastern Parotia or Helena’s Parotia

The Eastern Parotia (Parotia helenae) is also known as Helena’s Parotia. The scientific name honors Princess Helena Augusta Victoria, the third daughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.


Approximately 27cm long, it is a medium-sized passerine of the birds of paradise family, Paradisaeidae.

The male has an iridescent golden green breast shield, elongated black plumes, three erectile spatule head wires behind each blue iris eye and golden brown nasal tuft feathers.

The female is smaller than the male, with brown plumage and black barred below.

Its appearance resembles Lawes’s Parotia, of which it is sometimes considered a subspecies. It differs in the male frontal crest’s and the female’s dorsal plumages colors.

Distribution / Range

The Eastern Parotia is distributed and endemic to mountain forests of southeast Papua New Guinea.

A common species throughout its limited range, the Eastern Parotia is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.

Breeding / Nesting

As do other Parotia, the male is polygamous and performs spectacular courtship display in the forest ground. The clutch contains 1, maybe occasionally 2 eggs; one that was studied was 38.4 x 27.8 mm in size (Mackay 1990).

Diet / Feeding

It eats mainly fruit, seeds and arthropods.

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